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Capital Beat

Kelly Ayotte getting supportive TV ad from potential 2016 candidate Marco Rubio

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016 — is paying for 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,” was produced by Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC and will begin airing tomorrow. 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 slick 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 heavy 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. Instead, 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 pieces of legislation.

New Hampshire, of course, holds the first presidential primary. Rubio, a first-term senator and former speaker of the Florida House, is frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll last month showed Rubio with 15 percent support in the Granite State, tied for first place with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. The poll of 171 likely Republican primary voters, taken April 4 to 9, had a 7.5 percent margin of error.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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