The National Republican Senatorial Committee continues to make waves in New Hampshire, releasing two new television ads that criticize Gov. Maggie Hassan over her handling to the Granite State’s opioid crisis.
“Maggie Hassan’s shameful decision to consistently prioritize politics over the people of New Hampshire has resulted in unfortunate, unnecessary costs,” said Alleigh Marré, NRSC national press secretary, in a statement. “As peer recovery counselors attest from firsthand experience, Granite Staters are paying the price. Maggie Hassan’s utter failure to do her current job precludes her from seeking a new one.”
This isn’t the first time the NRSC has targeted the New Hampshire Senate race and the opioid crisis. The national campaign committee released an ad earlier this month also criticizing the Democratic governor’s “mismanagement” of the crisis.
Hassan’s campaign was quick to respond to the first ad, calling it “false,” “misleading,” “disgusting,” “trash” and “exactly what is wrong with politics.”
Hassan’s challenger for the seat, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, released a statement a few hours later also condemning the ad.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no one should play politics with the heroin epidemic, and this ad should be taken down,” she said.
NH1 News reports that the new commercials are part of their nearly $6 million ad buy in New Hampshire.
InsideSources/NH Journal released a poll in July that showed 44.5 percent of registered voters had a positive view of Ayotte’s handling of the crisis, while 22.7 percent have a negative view, with 32.8 percent undecided.
In contrast, 40 percent of respondents hold Hassan in a negative view on handling the crisis, 37 percent hold a positive view and 23 percent are undecided. Such polling seems to indicate Republicans see an opportunity to drive down Hassan’s support over a perception of the governor’s mishandling of the opioid epidemic, which consistently polls as the most important issue on the minds of Granite State voters.
Requests for immediate comment from the Hassan campaign, NH Democratic Party and NH Republican Party went unanswered.
Update: Liz Johnson, Ayotte’s campaign spokeswoman, sent NH Journal this statement about the ads.
“Kelly has been clear in her belief that the heroin epidemic should not be politicized,” she said. “Governor Hassan had a chance to keep third party ads off our airwaves, but she refused to join Kelly in signing the People’s Pledge and has been notably silent on the third party ads falsely distorting Kelly’s record.”