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Facing Re-Election In N.H., Kelly Ayotte Plays Foil To Ted Cruz

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Chris Jensen for NHPR
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New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte is boldly taking on a role most of her fellow Republicans have disdained: public foil to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Readying for what could be a tough re-election bid in an increasingly swing state, Ayotte has challenged the Texas senator as he has pushed for a government shutdown over funds for Planned Parenthood.

In 2013, Ayotte confronted Cruz at a Republican caucus meeting over shutdown tactics. This year, she sent him a letter asking pointedly how another shutdown could possibly be successful for the party and spoke out on the Senate floor.

Republicans say pragmatism is consistent with voters in New Hampshire, where Ayotte is seeking re-election next year. Popular Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan is also eyeing the race.

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