Mar 21, 2016 3:00 PM

First on NH1 News: Outside group goes up with new ads touting Ayotte's efforts in battle against substance abuse

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – A pro-Republican outside group is spending big bucks to run television commercials in New Hampshire touting GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s efforts to pass a bill that would help in fight against the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic, NH1 News learned Monday.

“It’s an epidemic. More than 400 people died from drug overdoses in New Hampshire last year. Sen. Ayotte is fighting back with bipartisan solutions. Ayotte’s bill invests in prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement. And is endorsed by the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police,” says the announcer in a new TV ad by One Nation.

The spot then uses sound from Ayotte at a news conference saying “we’re at risk of losing a whole generation, and this bill is an important, important, step forward.”

Ayotte and the Granite State’s senior senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, were co-sponsors of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The measure, better known as CARA, passed 94-1 in the Senate on March 10. The legislation is now in the House of Representatives.

In an interview with NH1 News minutes after the legislation sailed through the chamber, Ayotte the bill “is important legislation for New Hampshire and the country,” and said the measure would focus “on prevention, treatment, support for our first responders to deal with the heroin epidemic and the fentanyl that is killing people in our state.”

NH1 News has learned that One Nation will spend $1.2 million to run the commercial for 10 days in the Boston, Portland, and Burlington markets.

One Nation, a non-profit 501(c)(4) group, was formed last May. Days after its launch, the group went up with digital, radio, and print ads in New Hampshire highlighting Ayotte’s legislative accomplishments.

Last October the organization went up with a seven-figure ad buy touting Ayotte’s record on women’s healthcare.

The race between Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is one of the most high profile, expensive, and negative contests in the country, with outside groups such as One Nation, and the party committees, combined pouring millions into the battle for a seat that very well determine whether the Republicans keep control of the Senate. And the state’s fight against heroin and opioid abuse is a key issue in the campaign.

One Nation is a non-profit 501(c)(4) group with ties to Senate Majority Leader. One Nation is also linked to the pro-Republican American Crossroads super PAC and its non-profit Crossroads GPS, which were both co-founded and steered by Karl Rove, the mastermind behind President George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 election victories. The group is run by Steven Law, who’s also president of Crossroads.

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