Consequences for Kelly?
I am still trying to figure out the political impact, if any, of former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte’s testimony in front of the joint legislative committee investigating the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal earlier this week. I predicted in a previous post that Ayotte likely wouldn’t say much of anything new on Monday, and she didn’t. Democrats, especially those in the Hodes campaign, were pummeling Ayotte on the issue for weeks before her testimony, and they still are today. Ovide Lamontagne was the only Republican challenger hitting Ayotte on the FRM scandal before, and he appears to still be the only Republican candidate doing it now. So, not much seems to have changed in the grand scheme of the Senate race’s political narrative, at least not yet.
But the Ayotte campaign can’t be happy about having this article pop up on Politico.com earlier today, which discusses a tape of earlier comments by the attorney general, in which she at least gives the appearance of contradicting her testimony on the extent of her jurisdiction over consumer fraud cases. Even so, it is not yet clear that for all of the buzz among local political elites (and among some in the national media) about Ayotte being put on the defensive by the FRM scandal, that it has had a substantial impact on how Granite State voters view her candidacy.
I guess we really need some fresh polling data to see if it is starting to eat into her favorability rating and primary contest lead. It could certainly hurt her in the short-term with institutional elites at the National Republican Senatorial Committee who have been firmly behind her candidacy during the primary season, and in the longer run with independent voters who might be sitting on the fence in November. But it feels to me like the political jury is still out on this one.
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