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Jun 29, 2015 12:09 AM

Steinhauser: Pro-Dem. group slams Ayotte one day before her re-election launch

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – One day before GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte is expected to launch her 2016 re-election bid, the leading third party group that supports Democratic Senate candidates announced it’s going up with digital ads that target her for what the group says is the senator’s “cozy relationship with Washington D.C. special interests.”

Senate Majority PAC announced early Monday that it’s putting five-figures behind an ad campaign that will feature ads on Google, Facebook and Twitter.

“Kelly Ayotte is a Washington insider who’s made clear she stands with Big Oil and Wall Street, not New Hampshire,” reads the Facebook ad.

In an email to supports and on Facebook, Ayotte said she’ll start campaigning for a second term on Tuesday, with a rally in Manchester. Wednesday, Ayotte heads north for an event in Jefferson.

“I will continue to work across the aisle to stop wasteful spending, create a better environment for good jobs in New Hampshire, and keep our country safe. Having held over 40 town hall meetings, I look forward to continuing to listen to Granite Staters about how to create greater economic opportunity and a stronger New Hampshire,” Ayotte said in a statement.

The former state attorney general was elected to the Senate in 2010, narrowly winning the GOP nomination before easily defeating Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes in the general election.

Ayotte’s one of a half dozen Republican Senate incumbents in purple or blue states who could face challenging re-election bids next year, and national Democratic organizations and third party groups will spend big bucks to try and defeat her.

The big question is whom Ayotte will face off against in November 2016. There’s been plenty of speculation since last autumn that Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan may run against Ayotte. The governor has said she won’t decide whether she runs for re-election or for the Senate until after the state budget for the next two years has been resolved. Last week Hassan vetoed a budget passed by the GOP controlled state Senate and state House. A continuing resolution will allow the state to be funded at current levels for the next six months.

National Republican party committees and pro-GOP third party groups, such as Crossroads and America Rising, have attacked Hassan.

Senate Majority PAC promises it will hold “Ayotte accountable by shining a bright light on her special interest supporters who are spending big to keep her in Washington where she loyally supports their agenda.”

"Special interests tied to Senator Ayotte are spending big attacking Governor Hassan because Ayotte is in their pocket. They know she’s vulnerable in 2016 and will do anything to keep her in Washington loyally supporting their agenda, not New Hampshire’s," said Rebecca Lambe, the group’s co-chair.

Scott Brown fired back Monday morning. In a fundraising email for the New Hampshire GOP, the former senator from Massachusetts and 2014 GOP senate nominee in the Granite State said "after dumping over $3 million dollars onto New Hampshire airwaves in negative attack ads into my race last year, the disgraced former Senate Majority Leader is now focusing his false attacks on Senator Kelly Ayotte."

"Kelly Ayotte is is one of our nation's finest leaders. As one of the most bipartisan senators in the country, she has represented New Hampshire with honor and distinction," Brown added.

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