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Mar 21, 2016 10:55 PM

Steinhauser-First on NH1 News: Conservative group going up with TV ad supporting Ayotte on SCOTUS nomination fight

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – A conservative outside group is going up on New Hampshire airwaves for the second straight month with a television commercial that supports Sen. Kelly Ayotte over her stance that the next president rather than President Barack Obama should fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, NH1 News has learned.

The TV ad from the Judicial Crisis Network started running Monday, as protesters critical of Ayotte and those in support of the Granite State’s Republican senator separately demonstrated outside of her Senate offices in Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth.

And the commercial comes as NH1 News learned that another pro-GOP third party group, One Nation, will start running an ad in New Hampshire supportive of Ayotte’s efforts in the battle against substance abuse.

“A hotly contested election. The direction of our country at stake. Sen. Kelly Ayotte believes in being thoughtful and protecting the Constitution, especially when it comes to the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court justice services for a lifetime,” says the narrator in the new spot by Judicial Crisis Network.

“President Obama wants to rush through another liberal nominee. Kelly Ayotte disagrees. She believes the people of New Hampshire should have a voice in this nomination. Stand with Sen. Ayotte,” the announcer continues.

NH1 News learned that the Judicial Crisis Network will spend $500,000 over three weeks to run the commercial in New Hampshire. It’s part of an overall $2 million ad buy to run spots in six states in support of GOP senators who face challenging re-elections this year.

Ayotte is one of those senators. She is being challenged by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in a race that’s one of the most high profile, expensive, and negative Senate contests this year. She also faces a primary challenge from former state senator and 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens.

Since the unexpected death last month of conservative Supreme Court associate justice Antonin Scalia, Ayotte’s been in-line with nearly all fellow Senate Republicans in insisting that the next president, rather than Obama, fill the vacancy.

With the future direction of the high court at stake, Ayotte said “it’s a four-four court. This position will have an impact on the American people and the court for decades and so in my opinion let the people of this county weigh in in the November elections by who they elect president.”

Speaking with NH1 News last Wednesday, a couple of hours after the President nominated federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, Ayotte said “I will be meeting with him if he wants to me with me. I will clearly explain to him as well that I believe that people should be weighing in in the November elections before a confirmation process goes forward based on who gets elected president in November.”

Judicial Crisis Network went up with an ad in support of Ayotte last month, just days after the death of Scalia.

The group is a non-profit 501c4 group which says it’s "dedicated to strengthening liberty and justice in America through advocating for judges who will uphold the Constitution and the rule of law."

Hassan has been a vocal critic of Ayotte’s position on the high court vacancy

Last week the governor told NH1 News that “there's nothing in the constitution that says you're supposed to wait until the next president is elected to do your job.”

“It’s really a great disappointment. She (Ayotte) is siding with the far right party leadership in the Senate along with special interests instead of siding with the people of New Hampshire. Her position is undermining justice for the people of New Hampshire and for the people of the United States,” Hassan added.

A pro-Democratic outside group, the Senate Majority PAC, has run ads the past couple of weeks criticizing Ayotte for her stance on the Supreme Court showdown.

Earlier Monday protesters chanting “do your job, do your job” demonstrated outside of Ayotte’s offices in Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth. Supporters of the senator also showed up in force, chanting “go Kelly go, go Kelly go.”

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