New Hampshire voters can expect to hear far more about Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan now that Republicans have launched an ad campaign against her as they seek to defend their Senate majority, amid election polls that point to the increasing likelihood of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is locked in a tight Senate race against Hassan, unveiled a statewide ad Tuesday urging voters to consider the "solutions" she has delivered on environmental and economic issues.
"Whether it's fighting for good-paying jobs, protecting New Hampshire's beautiful outdoors, working to strengthen Social Security and Medicare or helping families better afford child care or save for college, Kelly has a strong record of delivering results for Granite Staters," claims the ad, which will run on local cable and broadcast.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which reserved $28 million in airtime several months back, launched two ads of its own on Tuesday that target Hassan for failing to deliver solutions as governor while managing the heroin crisis gripping New Hampshire. The TV spots charge Hassan with playing politics "at a very high cost" to those impacted by the opiate epidemic.
"Governor Hassan could have done more," says Dennis, a former addict-turned-recovery counselor, in one of the 30-second ads. "We're losing our friends. We're losing our neighbors. And our sons and daughters."
A spokeswoman for the NRSC told the Washington Examiner the committee intends to invest $5.9 million in the New Hampshire Senate race before the November election.
Ayotte has blanketed the Granite State with ads promoting herself as an elected official whose record shows she can be counted on to serve her constituents, not herself. In late May, her campaign released an ad highlighting the support she has received from leaders within the local law enforcement community for her voting record on gun control legislation and tougher penalties for criminals.
Hassan has so far launched three television ads in the state in addition to a handful of web-based ads. The two-term governor and Ayotte have both faced a deluge of outside spending from groups supporting their candidacies.
One Nation, a nonprofit with ties to Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, had spent $2.4 million by March on ads promoting Ayotte's legislative accomplishments, while Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League have taken out separate ad buys against Hassan's Republican opponent.
The Ayotte-Hassan matchup recently became one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country, after Ayotte was forced to defend herself against unexpected criticism from her party's presidential nominee.
"I don't know Kelly Ayotte. I know she's given me no support, zero support, and yet I'm leading her in the polls," Donald Trump told the Washington Post earlier this month before he reversed course and endorsed her.
While Republicans hope for a Granite State victory to prevent Democrats from picking up the four Senate seats needed to take back control if Clinton defeats Trump, the latest average of state-level polls, which shows Hassan ahead by a single percentage point, suggests additional ad-spending and a hard-fought campaign may be just enough to deliver Ayotte a second term.