New Hampshire’s Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has a history of vetoing gun rights legislation, and now gun control advocates are dropping huge sums to get her to Capitol Hill.
Running to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Hassan is getting a $2 million ad buy from the super PAC Independence USA, funded exclusively by former New York Mayor and gun control philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, as reported by NH1.com.
Set to begin airing Friday, the spot opens with a clip of Ayotte attesting that she is an “independent strong voice for New Hampshire,” then takes aim at her support for Donald Trump for president.
“Independent minded Republicans across America put principle ahead of party and said no to Trump, but not Kelly Ayotte,” says the ad. “If she’s so independent, why is she still supporting Trump?”
This comes as Ayotte’s campaign has repeatedly highlighted Hassan’s refusal to weigh in on if she thinks Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is honest.
Besides the PAC ad buy, Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has dropped another $27,548 into the bucket against Ayotte in an effort to bolster Hassan, while American’s for Responsible Solutions, founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, has likewise fed $1,409,767 into the anti-Ayotte fight, mainly in the form of ad buys of their own attacking the Senator over gun control.
Giffords and husband Capt. Mark Kelly were in New Hampshire last December to found a local group, the “Granite State Coalition for Common Sense,” with a mandate to expand background checks to include most private gun transfers and increased reporting of mental health records by the state to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The National Rifle Association, who supported the bills both times around, has contributed $4,950 to Ayotte’s campaign so far this year, which is about on par for their funding for other federal candidates. In 2013, they released ads in New Hampshire defending Ayotte’s stand against expanded background checks.
Speaking of which, it should be noted that Bloomberg isn’t just supporting Democrat challengers in the Senate. Independence USA has also dropped $1,155,300 in the bucket to help fund the campaign to reelect Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The GOP lawmaker has repeatedly crossed the aisle to lend a smattering of bipartisan support to thus far unsuccessful expanded background check measures in Congress and is one of the few GOP lawmakers willing to look at President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
“In the wake of Newtown, Pat Toomey crossed party lines to lead the fight to reduce gun violence in America by co-sponsoring legislation to close the background check loophole,” Bloomberg said in a statement issued by the group earlier this month.