Vulnerable GOP senator touts support for Obama climate rule

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (R-N.H.), who is facing a tough reelection contest next year, is touting her support for the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants. 

In a web video released by her campaign on Wednesday, Ayotte highlighted her support for the Clean Power Plan, saying it “will help address climate change” in the years ahead.

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“As your atorney general, I fought to protect New Hampshire from out of state polluters, and I’ve done the same in the Senate, crossing the aisle to protect New Hampshire’s clean air and water,” Ayotte said in the 30-second video. 

“Now, I’m supporting the Clean Power Plan, which will help address climate change with clean energy solutions that preserve our environment.”

Ayotte’s support for the climate rule — and her willingness to publicize it — is in sharp contrast to many other Republicans in the Senate. 

A group led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a series of resolutions to undo President Obama’s power plant rules this week, and the Senate is expected to vote on them later this fall.

In a floor speech on Tuesday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he expects a vote against the resolutions to be a political problem for some senators, saying the votes will “[force] accountability by people who are answerable to the public.” 

But in New Hampshire, circumstances might be different. Ayotte faces a stiff challenge next year from Gov. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDonnelly becomes third Dem to support Pompeo Manchin, Donnelly back Pompeo This week: Senate barrels toward showdown over Pompeo MORE, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Senate race and has already attacked the senator on climate issues.

Last week, Hassan accused Ayotte of backing “corporate special interests over New Hampshire’s environment” by supporting tax credits for oil firms and opposing environmental regulations.

On Sunday, Ayotte came out in favor of the climate rule, which looks to cut power sector carbon emissions by 32 percent. 

In her video on Wednesday, she pledged to work on climate issues and push energy efficiency legislation in the Senate, saying, “protecting the environment is truly a bipartisan issue.”