In The Balance: N.H.'s 2016 U.S. Senate Race

Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers leads NHPR's reporting on the 2016 race for U.S. Senate.

WMUR

By now it seems inevitable: A debate question gets asked about something other than the presidential race, but soon enough, the discussion is about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Wednesday night, it took seven minutes for them to enter the debate.

Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan debated Friday morning on WGIR. The two senate candidates clashed over who was more independent on the issues – and, of their respective parties' unpopular presidential nominees.

In the Balance is NHPR's blog looking at the race for U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan.

In the wake of their first televised debate, Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan are both out with ads. Both underscore how last night went.

Michael Brindley

Republican Kelly Ayotte is running for re-election, and while most of the headlines are about her race against Gov. Maggie Hassan, Jim Rubens has something to say about that.

The former state Senator is challenging Ayotte’s re-election in next month’s Republican primary, but even his supporters know the odds are against him.

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.

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. 

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.


NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says last week's shooting of two Manchester police officers by a suspect who with mental health problems illustrates the need for New Hampshire to do a better job of keeping guns away from people who shouldn't have them.

"I think this issue needs to be looked at by a broad coalition of stakeholders and that is certainly one of the questions that they should address. I think we should work together to take steps forward to improve public safety and public heath of New Hampshire," Hassan said.