Kelly Ayotte rebukes GOP Senate group’s ad on heroin problem

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, to unveil a new gun legislation proposal. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte speaks during a June 21 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. —Evan Vucci / AP

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is rebuking a television ad from her own party that criticizes Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s handling of the state’s drug abuse crisis.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to maintain GOP Senate control, is airing an ad saying Hassan “mismanaged the heroin crisis.” It cites the resignation of Hassan’s ‘drug czar’ and her state budget veto as evidence of poor management.

Drug overdose deaths have spiked in New Hampshire since 2013 and polling shows voters consider it the state’s top issue.

Ayotte says the ad should be taken down, adding “no one should play politics with the heroin epidemic.” Hassan’s campaign says Ayotte is offering “empty words,” noting she’s raised money with the NRSC.

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An NRSC spokeswoman declined to comment.