A Republican outside group wants to inject New Hampshire’s growing heroin epidemic into the state’s 2016 Senate race.
The conservative nonprofit Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire is launching TV and digital ads against Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, suggesting her decision to veto Republican legislators' budget is “playing politics” with funding for drug prevention, as the state’s drug-related deaths hit an all-time high. Hassan is Democrats’ leading contender to take on first-term Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in a battleground 2016 Senate race, but the governor has said she won’t make a decision on the race until she and the Republican-controlled state legislature reach agreement on a budget.
“A serious heroin epidemic has hit New Hampshire,” the narrator says in the new ad. “More people are dying from drugs and car accidents. But Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed the state budget because she wants more taxes and fees to be a part of it. She’s holding new funding for drug prevention, treatment and recovery hostage, which could help save countless lives.”
Hassan said in June that she wouldn’t approve Republicans budget because it included “unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations.” She and the legislature have each proposed compromise budgets since then, but negotiations are still ongoing—and expected to last throughout the summer. Meanwhile, Republican outside groups have spent over $2.5 million attacking Hassan on TV and in other media, mostly with ads about the budget, seeking to damage her image ahead of a possible clash with Ayotte.