USA Today reported today that Democrat Paul Hodes “will begin airing a second television advertisement this week attacking Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte.”
Democratic hopeful Paul Hodes has lost ground this month with all four Republican candidates now leading him in the race for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Granite State finds that former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte earns 49% of the vote to Hodes’ 37%. Businessman Bill Binnie leads Hodes, currently a U.S. congressman, by a similar 49% to 38% margin… But now two other GOP contenders - businessman Jim Bender and attorney Ovide Lamontage - also have moved slightly ahead of Hodes. Bender chalks up 43% support to Hodes’ 39%. Lamontagne also picks up 43% of the vote to 40% support for the Democrat. Since February, Hodes' support against the four GOP candidates has ranged from 35% to 44%, but except for February, he has never been closer than 10 points to either Ayotte or Binnie.
Hodes also garnered significant negative local coverage and criticism in response to his first round of attack ads. But evidently, he just didn’t get the message.
A few excerpts of note…
Foster’s Daily Democrat Editorial: Hodes: Nasty is as nasty does
Nasty is as nasty does might be Forrest Gump's response to an attack ad unveiled last week by U.S. Senate hopeful Paul Hodes against not-yet-annointed Republican Kelly Ayotte. And Forrest would be right. Democrat Hodes' first foray into television advertising for this campaign chastises Ayotte for her testimony in front of a legislative panel examining the recently uncovered Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. Ponzi scheme… [M]ost major candidates are spending early advertising funds telling voters who they are and what they stand for. These include other Senate hopefuls Republicans Bill Binnie and Jim Bender. But apparently not Hodes. Attack ads usually come late in a campaign, when the attacking candidate sees the handwriting on the wall — that a loss is within sight. That may very well be the case with Hodes, even this early out. Not only does Hodes stack up poorly against Ayotte in poll after poll, but also against Binnie, Bender and Ovide Lamontagne, the latter surging recently. Politics in Washington is already poisoned. Perhaps that is the problem. Hodes has spent too much time in the U.S. House where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has infected him with a rash of hate and anger. Advice to Hodes; Take an antibiotic and hot shower to wash away political dirt. Then tell the voters who "you" are.
Union Leader Editorial: Attacking Ayotte: Dishonest smears from Hodes
Rep. Paul Hodes should be ashamed of himself. He'd have to have a sense of shame, though, to do that. His blatantly false attacks against his leading rival for the U.S. Senate, former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, show that he hasn't one… Factcheck.org also notes that the Hodes campaign runs a website that claims Ayotte's e-mails cannot be found. Again, untrue. Ayottes e-mails are being released at her request. Factcheck.org summarized its assessment of Hodes' attacks this way: "Hodes deletes truth in NH Senate race." That should come as no surprise to Granite Staters, who are accustomed to being misled by attorney Hodes. It's one reason that even little-known GOP challengers are leading him in the polls. The guy just can't tell the truth.
Keene Sentinel Editorial: Thumbs down on the Hodes attack ads
In aiming a TV attack ad at only one of his potential Republican rivals for New Hampshire’s open U.S. Senate seat, 2nd District Congressman Paul Hodes apparently believes Kelly Ayotte will win the GOP primary in September and face him in November. And he seems to think the best way to defeat the former attorney general is through insult and insinuation. The effort is neither pleasant nor persuasive… Let’s hope Hodes’ ugly ad is not typical of the civic information New Hampshire voters will be getting from their candidates between now and November, at least in paid media. It shouldn’t be necessary to accuse, without substantiation, an opponent of deliberate malfeasance to make a case for one’s own rectitude. There are many significant differences between the policies Hodes and Ayotte would pursue in the U.S. Senate — differences that would affect people’s lives. There’s no need to hurl mud to bring them to public attention. In fact, Hodes has a pleasant two-minute video on his Web site (paulhodesforsenate.com) in which he describes his record as a congressman and makes a perfectly gracious case for sending him to the Senate. Ayotte’s Web site (ayotteforsenate.com) links to a section called “Kelly on the Issues,” which focuses in print on her record and her policy proposals. Time was when most political advertising tried to woo voters by being positive, even uplifting, and when candidates didn’t sully the process by calling each other crooks and liars… Paul Hodes, take notice.
Nashua Telegraph (By Michael Morse of FactCheck.org): Hodes stretching truth in early attack ads against Ayotte
It didn’t take long for New Hampshire’s Senate race to turn dirty. In his first TV ad, Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes falsely accuses his likely Republican opponent of erasing e-mails to cover-up her department’s botched investigation of an alleged $20 million Ponzi scheme… U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes has posted three critical Internet ads on the issue and now has released his first TV ad. Ayotte has responded to Hodes’ attack with a TV ad of her own called “False.” Hodes’ TV ad, titled “44 Times,” criticizes Ayotte for “ducking responsibility” in the aftermath of an alleged fraud case that Delaney says cost investors “at least $20 million.” But the ad goes too far when it insinuates that Ayotte has something to hide. The announcer says: “Two days before she resigned, she made sure her e-mail would be erased.” A similar claim was made in an Internet ad called “Files Not Found.” That ad, which was posted on YouTube on May 11, says: “As soon as Kelly Ayotte left office, all of her e-mails were deleted.” Neither statement is true… Hodes goes beyond the facts in a weak attempt to link Ayotte personally to the failed investigation.