Aug 30, 2016 10:24 PM

Pro-Democratic group takes aim at Ayotte over student loans in new TV ad

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – A new TV ad by the top pro-Democratic outside group playing in U.S. Senate races takes aim at Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte over her past education votes just as college students head back to school.

NH1 News has learned that the commercial, by the Senate Majority PAC, will start running Wednesday in New Hampshire. The group says the ad buy is part of the $7.5 million they reserved to run spots leading up to the November 8th general election.

In the commercial, the announcer says “New Hampshire college students are packing their backpacks and heading back to school. And thanks to Kelly Ayotte, along with the textbooks and pencils, many students are carrying more student loan debt. Ayotte voted to cut Pell Grants and to raise student loan interest rates. Because she sides with special interests looking out for their own bottom line – not our kids.”

“For New Hampshire students and families, Kelly Ayotte is a heavy burden we can’t afford,” the announcer concludes.

As she runs for re-election, Ayotte’s facing a serious Democratic challenge from Gov. Maggie Hassan. The showdown is one of the most high profile, expensive and negative Senate races in the country.

Senate Majority PAC, along with Majority Forward, the affiliated 501c4 non-profit group, have spent $9.5 million to run TV ads this cycle targeting Ayotte.

Responding to the new commercial, Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said "Governor Hassan’s special interest allies are funding millions of dollars’ worth of false attacks against Kelly in a desperate attempt to buy New Hampshire’s Senate seat because they know Hassan would be a rubberstamp for their agenda in Washington.”

“The truth is that Kelly helped pass a law that prevented student loan interest rates from doubling – saving students across the nation more than $50 billion in interest payments–fought to extend the Perkins Loan program that helps low-income students afford college, and supports efforts to expand Pell grants so they can be used for skills training,” Johnson added.

Besides Hassan’s Democratic challenge, Ayotte also faces a GOP primary challenge from former state Sen. Jim Rubens. Ayotte and Rubens will face off for the first time on Thursday in an NH1 News debate. The debate will be broadcast at 9pm on WBIN-TV.

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