Oct 14, 2016 6:01 AM

First on NH1 News: Pro-GOP group targets Hassan over nursing home cuts in new TV ad

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD -- A pro-Republican outside group that’s supporting Sen. Kelly Ayotte in her re-election bid is going up Friday with a new television commercial on New Hampshire airwaves that criticizes the GOP senator’s Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The TV ad (both a 30 second version and a 60 second version) by the Granite State Solutions PAC titled “Nursing Homes” slams Hassan’s record in the Corner Office. It was first reported by NH1 News.

“Maggie Hassan: Higher taxes for us. Devastating nursing home cuts. Hassan’s priorities are not our priorities,” says the narrator in the spot.

The commercial includes editorials from the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Nashua Telegraph that are critical of the governor’s handling of funding cuts early last year to the state’s nursing homes.

Big cuts were made in Medicaid reimbursement rates to the nursing homes to help close a multi-million dollar shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services budget. Much of the funding was restored in the summer of 2015, after an unexpected surplus in a different part of the health budget.

The group tells NH1 News their sixth ad of the autumn is part of a $22 million dollar buy and that the spot will run in the Boston/Manchester (including WBIN-TV television home of NH1 News), Portland and Burlington TV markets, which blanket New Hampshire. They say that there's also a digital component.

The Hassan campaign criticized the ad.

"These are just more false attacks from Kelly Ayotte's discredited special interest allies who are trying to prop up her campaign because they know she's a reliable vote for their special interest agenda in Washington," Hassan communications director Aaron Jacobs told NH1 News.

"Governor Hassan worked across party lines to maintain nursing home funding, and she reached a bipartisan budget compromise that was fiscally responsible and protected critical economic priorities for years to come. Meanwhile, Ayotte has sided with the Koch Brothers and voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program and supported a bill that would've dramatically cut Social Security," he added.

Granite State Solutions works in partnership with the Senate Leadership Fund. That’s the super PAC allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which works hand in hand with the pro-Republican One Nation and Crossroads GPS advocacy groups.

The race between Ayotte and Hassan is one of the most high profile, expensive and negative U.S. Senate showdowns in the country this year. Outside groups have already spent over $50 million to run TV commercials. The latest polling in the race indicates the contest all tied up.

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