The evening before Rick Scott is set to campaign in New Hampshire, the Union Leader is out with a new report about how local TV stations forced the National Republican Senatorial Committee — which Scott leads — to pull down a false ad attacking Senator Hassan. The ad falsely claims that gas prices jumped 23 percent when Senator Hassan was governor — when in fact they decreased under her leadership.
Read the full Union Leader report here.
An ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee slamming Sen. Maggie Hassan’s record on the gas tax was pulled from local cable stations Thursday, over a misstatement about the impact Hassan’s policy had on prices.
With Hassan pushing in recent months for a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax, her Republican opponents have been critical of her record on energy, including a gas tax increase she approved while governor of New Hampshire.
So when Hassan’s campaign released an ad earlier this month touting her push to lower the gas tax, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — the arm of the Republican party that coordinates Senate races — hit back with an ad of its own.
The ad brings up Hassan’s approval of a gas tax increase in 2014, which added 4 cents to the existing 18-cent-per-gallon state tax for a total of a 22-cent-per gallon tax. But the ad misstated the impact of the gas tax increase — while the tax increased, the overall price of gas went down, not up, in 2014.
The NRSC ad claimed that prices went up 23%, citing a short New Hampshire Public Radio story that did not make that claim. The gas tax, not the price of gas, increased just over 22%.
Attorneys for Hassan’s campaign demanded the ad be taken down, calling the ad “blatantly false” in a letter to television station managers.
“This claim is demonstrably false,” Hassan’s attorneys wrote. “This is not a question of interpretation; NRSC just plainly misstates a statistic that is readily available in legislation and mainstream news reporting.”
Gas prices in New Hampshire fell in 2014, even after the gas tax took effect, from more than $3.60 in the spring of 2014, down to $2.71 per gallon in mid-December that year.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is set to replace that ad with a different one.