Granite Status: Conservative NH group airs first TV ad of '14 US Senate election, hitting Shaheen for healthcare vote
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5: CRITICIZING SHAHEEN ON ACA. The conservative advocacy group Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire today began airing a 30-second television ad in the state criticizing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for voting in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
It's the first ad of the 2014 cycle focusing on the Democratic incumbent, whose campaign is actively raising money and aggressively preparing for her reelection run even as it remains unclear what Republican will take move to take her on.
The "Citizens" group was co-founded in March by several Republican activists and has Republican operatives Mike Biundo, Derek Dufresne and Kory Wood of RightOnStrategies working as its consultants.
It is a 501 (c)(4) self-described "diverse, nonpartisan grassroots coalition of concerned citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders concerned with promoting and preserving strong families and a strong economy for New Hampshire."
Biundo told the Granite Status the ad is airing on WMUR and state cable outlets with a total initial buy of $110,000.
The ad describes Shaheen as "the deciding vote for Obamacare," and says that as a result of the health care law, "employers may cut your weekly work hours from 40 to 29 to avoid the new taxes and penalties."
"Fewer hours. Less money. Tougher times. Tell Senator Shaheen you can't afford Obamacare," the ad says.
In a statement, Biundo said, "With skyrocketing healthcare premiums, New Hampshire is already feeling the pain from Senator Shaheen's deciding vote for Obamacare. Unfortunately for Granite Staters, the worst may be yet to come. Because of mandates in Obamacare that could force small businesses to cut their employees' hours from 40 to 29, harder times for many New Hampshire families could be on the horizon."
Group director Kristin Beaulieu said, "While a majority of New Hampshire residents have said they do not support Obamacare, Senator Shaheen has yet to join them in opposition to a law that is already proving to have a negative effect on families in our state. Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire is calling on Senator Shaheen to join with her constituents, work to repeal the current law, and fight for New Hampshire families that will be forced to live with less."
Dufresne said the ad was produced Bill Eisner of NonBox, with offices in based Oregon, Florida and Wisconsin.
Republican former state Sen. Jim Rubens of Hanover said last week he is exploring running against Shaheen. Other Republicans considering candidacies are state Senate Majority Leader and former U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley and former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta.
Shaheen's campaign responded Wednesday afternoon with a fund-raising email entitled "First Attack," saying, "Today a right-wing group is launching a TV attack ad against me -- the first of the campaign.
"This is only the beginning. Groups like this one and Karl Rove's will spend millions to twist words and bend truths," Shaheen writes, urging supporters to contribute to her campaign.
The state Democratic Party earlier blasted the "phony attack ad." Spokesman Harrell Kirstein said in a statement that "the people of New Hampshire aren't buying it."
"Only the Republicans want to go back an re-fight the health care battle," he said.
"Everybody else knows health care reform is expanding coverage and reducing costs here and across the country. In New Hampshire 93% of small businesses already provide health care coverage. The people of New Hampshire know Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and they know she's on their side, fighting for middle class families and small businesses."
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky added, "In 2012, Republicans and conservative outside groups spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking Democrats over health care reform and it proved to be a failed strategy. These blatantly false attacks have already been discredited and rejected by New Hampshire voters. What matters most to voters is Senator Jeanne Shaheen's strong record of fighting for New Hampshire's middle class and small businesses. Republicans have been unable to recruit a serious challenger so now they've resorted to desperate, worn out attacks."
State GOP Chair Jennifer Horn responded to the Democrats' criticisms, saying:
"Polls show that Granite Staters overwhelmingly disapprove of ObamaCare because they know that it will damage our economy and kill jobs. As ObamaCare begins to take effect, New Hampshire small businesses will be devastated by onerous new regulations and working families will be burdened with higher health care costs. Senator Shaheen was aware of these issues before she ignored the will of her constituents and decided to ram ObamaCare through Congress. In 2014 she will face the consequences for imposing this disastrous law on New Hampshire."