New ad hits Ayotte over delaying Supreme Court nomination

A major Democratic super-PAC launched a TV ad criticizing Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteFive takeaways from Florida Senate debate Poll: Clinton up 9 on Trump in NH The Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? MORE (R-N.H.) over refusing to meet with a Supreme Court nominee and linking her to GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHouse Republican group raised more than M in October Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate Chaffetz says he'll vote for Trump MORE

The Senate Majority PAC, run by allies of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is hitting the vulnerable GOP senator for saying she will not consider President Obama’s nominee to fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The ad buy is approximately $220,000, the group said.

The 30-second spot, entitled “Delay,” is the group’s third TV ad of the cycle and will run for one week starting Wednesday.

“Donald Trump wants the Senate to delay filling the Supreme Court vacancy so he can choose the nominee next year. And Senator Kelly Ayotte is right there to help,” the ad’s narrator said, after playing a clip of Trump calling for a “delay” at a past GOP debate. 

“Kelly Ayotte: Ignoring the Constitution; not doing her job,” the narrator continued. 

Senate Majority PAC spokesman Shripal Shah said in a statement, “In Washington, Kelly Ayotte is working for Donald Trump and her party bosses instead of fulfilling her constitutional responsibilities. People across New Hampshire are fed up with partisan dysfunction in Washington, and come November, voters are going to hold Kelly Ayotte accountable for her unprecedented obstructionism.” 

Ayotte has previously defended why she won't meet with a possible Obama nominee, adding that her decision to wait until after the election lines up with many of her GOP colleagues. 

"No, no ... in terms of the advise and consent process, I believe we should wait to have the people weigh in on who the next president is. And to weigh in, obviously, based on who ... that next president will nominate," Ayotte said late last month, according to Politico.

Ayotte campaign manager Jon Kohan hit back at the ad and instead pivoted to knock likely Democratic rival, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan for refusing to sign the People’s Pledge, which aims to reduce third-party spending.

"While Kelly continues to run a positive campaign about New Hampshire, Governor Hassan’s repeated refusal to sign the People’s Pledge has given the signal to Harry ReidHarry ReidCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Warren’s power on the rise Republicans make M investment in Senate races MORE and her Washington allies to flood New Hampshire airwaves with negative advertising,” Kohan said in a statement. “If Governor Hassan means what she says about third party special interest money, she will immediately condemn Harry Reid’s negative ads and ask for them to be taken down.” 

Ayotte and Hassan have been locked in a heated battle over campaign spending. The GOP senator called on Hassan to also agree to the pledge. 

Hassan signed what her campaign called a “strengthened” pledge, adding that the candidates should also have a $15 million spending cap.

Before facing Hassan, however, Ayotte will have to win the Sept. 13 primary against a new primary challenger,  former state Sen. Jim Rubens, who is running to the right of the senator. Rubens also blasted Ayotte over refusing to meet with Obama’s nominee, according to NH1 News, saying that while he's the conservative alternative, he wants the Senate to take responsibility

If Ayotte advances to the general election, she’ll likely square off against Hassan in what is considered to be one of the most competitive and expensive races this cycle. 

Both have raised $2 million, though Ayotte has a cash advantage. Early 2016 polling shows Ayotte ahead. 

Democrats need to net five Senate seats in 2016 to regain a majority in the upper chamber — unless they retain the White House. Then a net gain of four seats would give them the majority, with the vice president breaking a 50-50 tie.

Democrats are considered to have an advantage in that they are only defending 10 Senate seats, while the GOP is defending 24 seats.