Mar 23, 2016 11:17 PM

First on NH1 News: Senate Majority PAC going up with new ad buy in NH

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – There’s no letup in spending by outside groups in New Hampshire’s high-profile U.S. Senate battle between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan, the Democratic challenger.

NH1 News learned Wednesday that Senate Majority PAC, the leader super PAC supporting Democratic Senate candidate, will start airing a new television commercial Friday on Granite State airwaves. New Hampshire based ad buying sources told NH1 News that it’s a six-figure buy and that the spot is likely to be a contrast ad that targets Ayotte.

Earlier this month Senate Majority PAC spent big bucks to run a commercial that criticized Ayotte over her refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

That ad tied Ayotte to Donald Trump, the likely Republican president nominee.

“Donald Trump wants the Senate to delay filling the Supreme Court vacancy so he can choose the nominee next year. And Senator Kelly Ayotte is right there to help,” said the narrator in the commercial.

Earlier this week Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative outside organization, went up with an ad that supported Ayotte over her stance that the next president rather than President Obama should name the successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last month.

Also this week, the pro-Republican outside group One Nation shelled out big bucks to go up with a spot touting Ayotte’s efforts to pass a Senate bill that would help in fight against the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic.

The new infusion of money by outside groups in one of the most expensive and negative Senate battles in the country comes weeks after Ayotte and Hassan fought over efforts to limit third party spending in their race.

Last month Ayotte challenged Hassan to sign the Peoples Pledge.

The pledge is based on the 2012 agreement between then Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. It would require either candidate that benefits from third-party spending (from Super PACs, 501c4 groups, and other outside organizations) to folk over 50% of the cost of that ad buy to a charity of the opponent’s choosing.

So far this cycle, more than $3 million’s been dished out by outside groups to run ads in New Hampshire’s blockbuster Senate battle.

Hassan’s campaign responded to Ayotte’s offer a day later with what they called a “Strengthened New Hampshire Peoples Pledge” which would limit each campaign to a $15 million spending cap.

Ayotte termed Hassan’s move disingenuous, telling NH1 News that “unfortunately Gov. Hassan clearly doesn’t want to keep third party special interests spending out of this race.”

In an interview with NH1 News, Hassan criticized Ayotte, saying “I continue to believe strongly that Citizens United is wrong for our country and as a United States senator I would vote to overturn it, something that Sen. Ayotte has said she won’t do. She supports Citizens United. She supports the notion that these outside groups can come to state and flood the state with money.”

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