Florida’s Rubio, potential 2016 presidential candidate, airing TV ad in N.H. to support Ayotte
Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Kelly Ayotte speaks to the Monitor during an editorial review board; Thursday, August 12, 2010.
(Alexander Cohn/Monitor Staff)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016 – is airing a television ad in New Hampshire to support U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her vote last month against expanded background checks.
The 30-second ad, “Quite,” will begin airing today and is paid for by Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC. A spokesman for the group described it as a six-figure buy but declined to provide additional details.
“Safety. Security. Family. No one understands these things like a mom, and no one works harder for them than this one,” a female narrator says in the video. “A former prosecutor, Kelly Ayotte knows how to reduce gun violence. Ayotte voted to fix background checks, strengthen mental health screenings and more resources to prosecute criminals using guns.
“Washington might not like it, but you can count on it,” the narrator continues. “Kelly Ayotte stands for our values, not theirs.”
Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, has taken considerable criticism from gun control advocates for her April 17 vote against a proposal that would have required background checks for firearms sales online or at gun shows. Ayotte supported an alternative proposal that would have reformed the background checks system, among other things.
Both proposals failed to advance in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold a majority but 60 votes are needed to move forward on most legislation.
Polls have showed strong support in New Hampshire for expanded background checks, including a poll taken by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in February that showed 91 percent support for requiring background checks at gun shows.
Ayotte has been hit in recent weeks with radio and television ads from gun control groups like Americans for Responsible Solutions and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Supportive ads have come from organizations like the National Rifle Association and the American Future Fund, a conservative group.
The latest ad comes from Rubio, a first-term senator from Florida and potential presidential candidate in 2016. New Hampshire, of course, holds the first presidential primary, just following the Iowa caucuses.
A UNH poll last month of likely Republican primary voters found Rubio with 15 percent support, tied for first place with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. The poll of 171 likely primary voters, taken April 4 to 9, had a 7.5 percent margin of error.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party said Granite State voters won’t be swayed by the ad.
“Notably absent from Rubio’s misleading new ad are the words ‘New’ and ‘Hampshire,’ probably because according to multiple independent polls 90 percent of New Hampshire citizens support expanding background checks – exactly what Ayotte and Rubio voted against,” said party spokesman Harrell Kirstein.
Ayotte’s office declined to comment on the ad.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)