Oct 19, 2016 7:23 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – They work for Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, but the group representing New Hampshire’s state troopers is backing Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the Granite State’s blockbuster U.S. Senate race.
“She’s always stood with us and she continues to stand with us and that is why we at the New Hampshire Troopers Association are proud to endorse her for another term in the U.S. Senate,” association president Marc Beaudoin said on Wednesday, as he stood next to Ayotte.
“Kelly has devoted her career to keeping the citizens of New Hampshire safe and is passionate about defending law enforcement officers and ensuring we have the best support and resources we need in order to do our job,” Beaudoin added.
Ayotte was also endorsed at the campaign event in Concord by the New England Narcotics Enforcement Officers’ Association and the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association.
Ayotte praised law enforcement officers, saying “I have seen the incredible work done every day by our law enforcement officers going back to my time as attorney general. They’re there every day of the week, nights, weekends, holidays, keeping us safe in a very dangerous world.”
Ayotte said helping the state’s law enforcement leaders battle the heroin and opioid crisis “has been a priority of mine and I’ve been glad to work with them on more resources.”
“I will continue to fight on their behalf to make sure that they have the support that they need,” she added.
While the New Hampshire Troopers Association is backing the incumbent over the Democratic challenger in this year’s Senate showdown, they did endorse Hassan in her 2012 election to the Corner Office and her 2014 re-election as governor.
Asked by NH1 News if the endorsement of Ayotte means they don’t think Hassan’s doing a good job when it comes to public safety and combating the drug crisis, Beaudoin said “she (Hassan) has done a fine job here in the state of New Hampshire. However our members have always been very fond of Sen. Ayotte and her work that she’s done and they just want to continue to support Sen. Ayotte.
In a statement to NH1 News responding to the endorsements, Hassan campaign press secretary Meira Bernstein said “Governor Hassan’s first priority has always been the safety and security of New Hampshire’s communities. Working across party lines, she’s implementing a comprehensive and hands-on response to the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, put more State Troopers on the road, supported active shooter training programs and strengthened school safety plans – all while enacting two fiscally responsible, balanced budgets without an income or sales tax.”
“The Governor is proud to have the support of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire and law enforcement professionals across the state in her campaign to take her bipartisan approach to the U.S. Senate to support innovative businesses, expand middle class opportunity and keep New Hampshire and America safe,” Bernstein added.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party released a fact check criticizing Ayotte.
“Kelly Ayotte’s real Washington record shows that she puts her party and corporate special interests ahead of law enforcement and public safety here in New Hampshire,” NHDP press secretary Melissa Miller wrote. “The people of New Hampshire deserve a Senator who will stand up and fight for them, and they know that Senator is not Kelly Ayotte.”
Former NHGOP spokesman backs Hassan
The Hassan campaign Wednesday highlighted the support of Mark Lenzi, a former spokesman for the New Hampshire GOP.
In an op-ed in the Concord Monitor, the foreign policy expert wrote “as a lifelong Republican who previously served as Spokesman for the New Hampshire Republican Party, I cast my vote six years ago for Kelly Ayotte for Senate – but I cannot do so again.”
“I want my Senator in Washington to be independent in their thinking and not beholden to a political party whether that be on foreign or domestic policy. Maggie Hassan will be that Senator,” he added.
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