The conservative group Americans For Prosperity this week will begin running its first ads of the 2014 elections in New Hampshire, attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for her support of Obamacare.
"Tell Sen. Shaheen it's time to be honest," a narrator says in the ad. "Obamacare doesn't work."
In addition to Shaheen, Americans for Prosperity's seven-figure Obamacare advertising blitz has targeted Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Kay Hagan in North Carolina, both of whom were already under fire from the Koch brothers-backed group last year. The $200,000 New Hampshire ads will run over the next three weeks, Americans for Prosperity said.
But the group's entrée into New Hampshire is more unusual because Shaheen was not seen by Republicans as vulnerable enough to target until recently, when former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, moved to New Hampshire and began publicly testing the waters for a challenge to Shaheen.
Brown has not yet announced a run, but AFP's investment in anti-Shaheen advertising in New Hampshire could indicate new optimism that Brown will enter the race.
"This is an attempt by outside groups to soften up Shaheen and convince Scott to get in the race," said one Republican operative with ties to Brown. "These type of ads will give a sense of how potent the Obamacare message will be against Shaheen."
"If people didn’t think Scott was serious, they wouldn’t be investing money in ads," the operative added.
In addition to Americans for Prosperity, the outside group Ending Spending spent $100,000 against Shaheen late last year.
The toll the outside ads take on Shaheen's approval ratings could be a critical factor for Brown in determining whether to run. Republicans are expected to begin their own polling in New Hampshire in January.