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Sep 9, 2016 7:04 AM

First on NH1 News: NH Dems use fellow Republican senator's words to target Ayotte

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s using Sen. Joni Ernst’s past words against Sen. Kelly Ayotte as the freshman senator from Iowa campaigns with Ayotte in New Hampshire.

When Ernst was running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, she repeatedly criticized her Democratic opponent, then-Congressman Bruce Braley, for missing hearings on Capitol Hill.

With Ernst giving Ayotte a helping hand on the Granite State campaign trail, NH1 News learned that the NHDP is releasing a new video on Friday that uses past video clips of Ernst criticizing Braley during their 2014 race, which was one of the marquee U.S. Senate battles in that cycle.

The video then slams Ayotte for missing “47 percent of her Homeland Security Hearings.”

The video also uses headlines from Politico and NH1 News reports on Ayotte’s attendance record in the Senate.

“Senator Ernst and I do not agree on much, but I’m heartened that she agrees with me on the importance of attending congressional hearings--like the Homeland Security hearings Kelly Ayotte has so frequently skipped,” NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement. “In the homestretch of this election, the New Hampshire Democratic Party intends to make sure that all voters know Kelly Ayotte’s real record of failing to fight for the people of the Granite State in Washington.”

The NHDP has criticized Ayotte’s attendance record for months, as has the campaign of Gov. Maggie Hassan, Ayotte’s Democratic challenger in New Hampshire’s blockbuster Senate battle, which is one of the most high profile, expensive and negative in the country.

At the same time, Ayotte’s campaign and the New Hampshire GOP have long criticized Hassan for her days spent out of the state on political travel.

Thursday evening Ernst teamed up with Ayotte in Nashua. On Friday the two GOP senators campaign in Amherst, Manchester, Windham and Kingston.

This is Ernst’s second trip this year to the Granite State to campaign with Ayotte. She joined up with Ayotte for two days in early March.

This latest visit by Ernst to the first-in-the-nation primary state could also be an early indicator for the 2020 election cycle. If GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump loses the November election, Ernst, who’s considered a rising star in the Republican Party, may have designs on the White House.

"Governor Hassan has failed to lead on the issues facing New Hampshire, refuses to answer simple questions, and has been widely criticized for her excessive absences from the state," Ayotte campaign spokeswoman Liz Johnson told NH1 News.

"Kelly has the best attendance record of the entire delegation and she has a 99 percent voting record, despite the aggressive schedule of the five committees she serves on, where hearings often happen simultaneously, conflict with constituent meetings, or occur when she's commuting to or from New Hampshire," she added.


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