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With Attention on RNC in Cleveland, Ayotte Campaigns in N.H.

Jason Moon for NHPR
Ayotte addressed employees of Novocure in Portsmouth

The Republican National Convention may be dominating the headlines. But following Senator Kelly Ayotte Wednesday morning, you wouldn’t know it.

Instead of spending the week in Cleveland, Ayotte was here in Portsmouth, touring a company that makes devices to treat cancer tumors with electrical fields.

Ayotte heard from the company’s executives about the regulatory challenges they say they are facing. When she spoke to a gathering of employees, Ayotte highlighted her efforts to repeal the medical device tax, a feature of the Affordable Care Act.

“Since I got elected, one of the issues I’ve been very passionate about is repealing this tax," said Ayotte, "and you’re the living the proof of why we need to repeal it.”

When Ayotte was asked about the Republican convention in Cleveland, she said she does expect it will help unify the party.

“And I think that Donald Trump has responsibility also as the nominee to unify and bring people together coming through that convention,” added Ayotte.

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

As for her own absence, Ayotte cited a practical political reason for staying home.

“I have a reelection in November and I want to be here listening to people in New Hampshire," said Ayotte, "getting around, visiting our businesses, talking to people who are facing and working on the challenges that New Hampshire faces like the opioid epidemic. To me that’s a better use of my time.”

The first test of that theory will be in September, when Republican primary voters decide whether to nominate Ayotte to run for a second term.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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