Washington Post: …Ads in the state are focused on Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R),
the only senator from the Northeast to vote against expanded background
checks. Gun-control groups hope to turn her vote into a political
liability; gun-rights advocates aim to prove that it isn’t one.
American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit, is up Friday with a $250,000 ad buy supporting Ayotte. That dwarfs the $25,000 buy
from the National Rifle Association. But it pales in comparison to the
ad buy from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is estimated to be larger
than $600,000. (The group says only that the two-week buy is in the six
figures but has not disputed that estimate.) The ads are running during
Red Sox games, an expensive time. Americans for Responsible Solutions,
the pro-gun control group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle
Giffords and her husband, also has a $350,000 radio buy up in New Hampshire and four other states. The group has raised $11 million in the past four months and is likely to spend more in New Hampshire.
Ayotte isn’t up for reelection until 2016, so the ads aren’t focused
on electoral politics directly. Instead, they’re seeking to influence
her vote when the issue comes up again. Ayotte’sfavorables have been in a tailspin
after the vote and gun safety advocates see her as a likely defector in
the next round. The ads from them are downward pressure meant to keep
her numbers low by keeping voters’ disappointment with her fresh in
Which may explain the lower figures for gun lobby
ads. They want to shore up support, but Ayotte is taking such a beating
that they don’t want to make her seem like a no-guns-laws-ever fanatic.
It’s kind of a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation —
you can’t defend her without reminding everyone why they got so mad at
her in the first place. The best they can do is offer cautious support
and hope this whole thing blows over.
Unless Ayotte is politically suicidal, that may not be enough.