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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8f680000Coverage of the 2016 races in New Hampshire, from the White House to the State House.

Independent Senate Candidate Ran to Spoil Ayotte's Chances, Claims Success


The Secretary of State’s office has certified the results of the race between incumbent senator Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan. And the results are that Hassan has beaten Ayotte by a slim enough margin that Ayotte could have requested a recount (although she’s opted not to).

Among the reasons why Ayotte may have lost is Republican Aaron Day. He’s an independent who ran in this race to Ayotte’s right, and he was highly critical of Kelly Ayotte’s record. Day joined All Things Considered’s host Peter Biello to talk about the election.

Aaron Day, it appears that Kelly Ayotte has lost her bid for re-election. You earned more than 17,000 votes. Do you believe that you pulled some conservative votes and cost her the election?

Yes, in fact I believe most of my votes were conservative votes.

And are you satisfied with that outcome?

I am. I originally set out to run for this office because of Kelly Ayotte’s actions in the state, and not only her voting record but some of her interference in other statewide races. and from my perspective, I think it’s important that the republican party has integrity and soul for a lack of a better word and I feel like Kelly Ayotte has gotten off track, and I had given her opportunities to make adjustments on the platform. Completely ignored on her side, and as the final resort I collected the signatures to run as an independent in this race to make sure that she got knocked out.

There were a few things that you were very critical of her on your Facebook page, one of them is her confirmation vote for Attorney General Lorreta Lynch. That was just one of the things. What else were you highly critical of?

It’s her broader voting record. If you look at her Conservative Review., she has a 30 percent "F" Liberty rating. If you look at heritage action she has a 26 percent rating. It’s not only her voting record, it’s the fact that she votes for her own personal aggrandizement and for her career, she has repeatedly interfered in other races. She has not supported candidates like Jim Warren and others. So to me it’s a combination of interfering in state affairs, the stuff that she’s doing federally she’s doing a poor job on, and then it’s the hypocrisy of the stuff she’s done with respect to other candidates running for office.

So you didn’t run necessarily to win but to keep Republicans in line, keep them honest, in a way?

This is about fighting for the soul of the Republican party. Did I think I was going to win this race? To be honest with you, between Hassan and Ayotte, they spent $136 million on this race. I didn’t spend any money on this race. I didn’t even have a website. I wasn’t invited to any of the debates. I didn’t do any speeches. In fact, I’m really thankful for the 17,000 plus people that did support me, and I suspect those are people through my own social network that also are sick of the corruption and sick of the hypocrisy because I think that’s ultimately drove those votes. But I didn’t have any delusion that I was going to win the race when I’m outspent by $136 million.

There might be some practical conservative that might have preferred any Republican senator to a Democrat like Maggie Hassan. So what do you have to say to those voters who may blame you and perhaps Libertarian Brian Chabot for this loss?

This is a very important win because it will allow us to establish for the Republican party that people can be proud about, understand what it is, instead of constantly sitting there looking at oh, she voted on this, and then she did this and then this. It devolves. And you get a dilution of the party and a dilution of the message. This is about restoring integrity of the party. And that’s why I did it. And people will come to understand it. It maybe two years, three years, four years, a lot of people are going to be very angry with me. I’m okay with that. I made the sacrifice, and I would do it again.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.
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