Kelly Ayotte

In the wake of last week's mass shooting in Orlando, the debate over guns and how to keep them away from potential terrorists has been center stage in the U.S. Senate.  And so has New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte.

A bill she helped draft Monday aims to bar suspected terrorists from buying guns, and the issue of gun control is looking to be key to her re-election effort this year. But Ayotte’s involvement with gun policy and politics extends farther back that her six years in the U.S Senate.

As the U.S. Senate debates measures to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, New Hampshire's Senator Kelly Ayotte is throwing her support to a proposal drafted by Maine Senator Susan Collins.

The plan would bar people on the TSA's no-fly and selected lists from buying guns. It also creates an appeals process where people wrongly blocked from buying gun could recover legal fees from the federal government.

Ollie Atkins / Richard Nixon Presidential Library

When politicians talk about drug abuse, ‘tough on crime’ is a phrase that seems to be going out of style as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the "War on Drugs" didn’t solve the problem.

If one needed proof the opioid crisis is seen as a powerful election issue, confirmation came last week, in the form a $4.6 million dollar ad buy from the GOP group, One Nation.

Maggie Hassan's pitch as she officially joined the race she's now been running for months was practiced -- and pointed. 

"I've been working for the people of New Hampshire and Kelly Ayotte has been standing with special interests time and time again, whether it's with the Supreme Court or now with Donald Trump, and his special interest backers."

Hassan cited her efforts to control the cost of higher education and defend abortion rights with votes Ayotte has taken to cut Pell grants and defund Planned Parenthood. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is criticizing comments made by Donald Trump suggesting the federal judge presiding over the Trump University fraud case is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

"His comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them," Ayotte said in a statement provided to several news outlets Sunday.

Still, Ayotte's office tells WMUR that she still intends to vote for Trump, though continues to make the distinction that she won't endorse him.

Jason Moon for NHPR

When Kelly Ayotte officially registered her candidacy for re-election to the Senate yesterday, many were focused on how a race between her and Gov. Maggie Hassan might play out. But before she can get to that, Ayotte must first contend with a primary challenge from Jim Rubens, a former Republican state senator. He also filed his candidacy yesterday.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte officially filed to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate today.

After a brief rally with supporters on the State House lawn, the first-term Republican made her way inside to the Secretary of State’s office, where she paid the $100 filing fee and officially entered what will likely be one of the most watched Senate races of the year.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

  The US Senate is backing an amendment to allow a sober living home for veterans in Manchester to again seek federal funds. 

Spend any time around Sen. Kelly Ayotte or Gov. Maggie Hassan nowadays, and you'll hear repeated assurances that while it may be election season, they remain wholly dedicated to serving New Hampshire.

But take a look at either’s fundraising books in their race for the U.S. Senate, and you'll find plenty of proof that both are also focusing further afield.

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Lawmakers in Congress appear to be finding some common ground when it comes to dealing with the heroin and opioid addiction crisis.

But how much money will actually be put toward funding treatment and prevention programs remains a sticking point.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte continues to stand by her statement that she’ll support -- but not endorse -- apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte says she plans to support Donald Trump, but stopped short of endorsing her party's apparent presidential nominee.

With Trump's two remaining Republican opponents out of the race following his win in Indiana Tuesday, he is now assured of the nomination.

Ayotte has consistently said she would support the Republican nominee, and while she confirmed that position yesterday, her spokesman added that as a candidate, she doesn't plan to endorse anyone.

New Hampshire's U.S. senators have introduced a bill for the creation of a coin in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring Christa McAuliffe, who was picked to be the first teacher in space.

Proceeds from the sale of the coins would support FIRST programs that inspire young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is founded by inventor Dean Kamen.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

2016 is a big year politically for New Hampshire, and excepting the Presidential contest, no election will get as much scrutiny as the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan.

Excerpted from Planned Parenthood Votes Ad

 A political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood is spending $400,000 to target Kelly Ayotte in its first TV ad focused on 2016 Senate races.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

  New Hampshire US Senator Kelly Ayotte is using the University of New Hampshire as a model for giving the public more information about sexual assaults on college campuses. 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte had what she described as a cordial meeting with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland Wednesday.

Ayotte is among a group of Republicans who have been willing to meet with President Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, but who remain opposed to holding hearings or a vote.

In a statement released after Wednesday’s meeting, Ayotte says she thanked Garland for her service, and spoke with him about his background and judicial philosophy.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is going to be meeting with President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ayotte will have a one-on-one meeting with Merrick Garland on Wednesday in Washington.

New Hampshire's senior senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, met with Garland last week.

Ayotte is part of a group of Republicans who have said they are willing to meet with Garland, but remain opposed to hearings and a vote.

NHPR Staff

The money race has been nip and tuck from the moment Governor Maggie Hassan declared for U.S. Senate in early October:  $4.4 million raised by Hassan; $4.4 million raised by her opponent, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. 

This quarter, Hassan's campaign says it collected $2.25 million; Ayotte's campaign, "more than $2.25 million." Yet Ayotte, whose been raising money for 2016 since she was sworn in 5 years ago, has almost $7 million in cash on hand, more than twice Hassan's $2.9.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is planning to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland next week.

Ayotte says the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13.

Ayotte faces re-election in one of the Senate's most high-profile races against popular Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

She is part of a group of Republicans who have said they are willing to meet with President Barack Obama's nominee, but remain opposed to hearings and a vote.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race is one of the most watched races in the country, and one that may help decide who controls the senate after November's election. As the first of a series of conversations NHPR will be having with the candidates in all the statewide races leading up to November, Democratic candidate and two-term New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan spoke to Brady Carlson, host of Weekend Edition.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire's top elected Republican, says women should not be punished for seeking out an abortion if it were banned.

Ayotte was weighing in on a controversy sparked Wednesday by the comments of her party's presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump.

"Women should not be punished, and I'm glad Mr. Trump has retracted his troubling comments," Ayotte said in a tweet Wednesday evening.

josh rogers/nhpr

Senator Jeanne Shaheen took to the steps of the federal courthouse in Concord to call on Senate Republicans to "get on with it" and take up Merrick Garland's nomination.

She says putting it off runs afoul of the constitution and senate tradition.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Kelly Ayotte says she's gotten mixed feedback from voters over her stance on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Mark Fischer via Flickr CC / www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos

New Hampshire's US Senators are split on what the Senate should do now that President Obama has chosen Merrick Garland as his nominee to the US Supreme Court. 

A federal bill aimed at helping states tackle the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic cleared a major hurdle Thursday. 

The measure calls for roughly $70 million over the next three years to help expand treatment for people battling addiction while in prison and drug prevention efforts in schools. It would also strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs.

The bill easily passed the U.S. Senate on a 94 to 1 vote and now heads to the House.

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A super PAC working to return Democrats to control of the Senate is airing television ads attacking New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte over her opposition to letting President Barack Obama pick the next Supreme Court justice.

The Senate Majority PAC ad also ties Ayotte to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. A narrator says Ayotte is eagerly helping Trump in his calls for delaying until the next president takes office. The ad claims Ayotte is "ignoring the Constitution" and "not doing her job."

  New Hampshire US Senator Kelly Ayotte is using this week's Republican response to President Obama to highlight the opioid crisis. 

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