In the Digital Sphere, Hassan-Ayotte Race Already at Full Tilt

Oct 6, 2015

Governor Maggie Hassan announced her candidacy for Senate in a YouTube ad, but the US Chamber of Commerce already had anti-Hassan ads posted online

When Gov. Maggie Hassan went public this week with her plans to take challenge Republican Kelly Ayotte for her U.S. Senate seat, she didn’t do it in a room full of supporters or while standing behind a bunting-draped podium. She headed straight to the internet with a video announcing her run.

And though this high-profile matchup is race is just a day old, on the digital front, it’s already moving fast.

Head to Twitter, YouTube, or open your email today, and if you have anything to do with New Hampshire politics, that Hassan-Ayotte race is already almost omnipresent. There are web ads, like this one from the US Chamber of Commerce, going after Hassan:

"What could we expect from Maggie Hassan in Washignton, the same dysfunction that she’s already brought to Concord……."

Watch the video:

There are videos touting policy initiatives, like this one from Kelly Ayotte:

"Women should  not have to choose between their jobs and a healthy pregnancy..."

Then there are the fundraising emails. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, for instance, is putting the arm on donors for Hassan...and don’t forget the all the tweets.  Type in the hash tag "#nhsen" and you can read them by the hundred.


According to GOP Political Consultant Pat Griffin, it makes sense that this race, pitting two up-and-comers in a contest that could help tip the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, would generate plenty of immediate digital action from partisans. But Griffin thinks it may make particular sense this year.

"You know, right now, New Hampshire voters are being bombarded with campaign message from presidential candidates," Griffin said.

It may be easier, he said, and it’s certainly less expensive, to if not cut through that noise, at least stay below it digitally. And stay busy reaching out to the supporters, here and elsewhere, who can lend a hand, or cut a check.  

“It’s about raising as much money as you can, and one way you can do that is to create the presence of a campaign digitally," Griffin said.

And a strong digital campaign  - targeted and well-tailored  - can also shrink a problem both Ayotte and Hassan have to solve: How to campaign as hard as possible without giving the appearance of looking past their current responsibilities.

As this digital ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggests, people are already watching.