Zero For Kelly

I am on the mailing list of "Friends of Kelly Ayotte" the campaign organization spun up for the New Hampshire Republican Senator's 2016 campaign. This entitles me to receive four or five e-mail missives a week, many with a couple irritating focus-grouped tropes that seem to have been invented by the Obama campaigns:

  • Something about "common-sense solutions" is usually present, often with a explicit New Hampshire tie-in:

    • "Your donation will go directly into the field to help fund our grassroots campaign for common-sense New Hampshire solutions";

    • "The fundraising numbers we report after this deadline will go a long way in setting the tone for our campaign for common-sense New Hampshire solutions."

    • "You and I both know that Kelly has been leading the charge for common-sense solutions in the Senate";

    • "We’re putting together a letter to the editor team to help spread the word on Kelly’s record of strong leadership and common-sense solutions for the Granite State."

    • "From the North Country to Nashua, Granite Staters are lining up behind Kelly and her campaign to bring New Hampshire common-sense solutions to the Senate."

    Who's against common sense? Not Senator Ayotte! This drumroll of vapidity might impress some recipients; to me it's just a reminder that the sender thinks I'm easily swayed by repetitive meaninglessness.

  • Some messages do their best to disguise their nature: personal-name From lines, content-free Subject lines: "New Hampshire Summer" from Thomas Reiker; "Show them" from Stephanie Hubbe; "Could you..." from Ada Furciniti; "Exclusive Invitation" from Jon Kohan; and (my favorite) simply "Hey" from "Thomas". ("Hey" back atcha, Thomas!)

    I get it: there is a marginally greater chance that recipients will read a message if it looks like it might not be campaign spam.

I guess that's the name of the game these days. They'll continue until some other gimmicks become the latest thing.

But I got a paper-mail solicitation the other day. I decided to waste a stamp and send it back, filled out this way:

[Zero for Kelly]

Yes, there's that "New Hampshire common sense" again.

And I also composed a letter to send along explaining my snottiness. I have no idea whether anyone will read it at Kelly's end, but here it is (HTMLized):

Dear Friends of Kelly Ayotte:

Allow me to explain why I am donating the generous sum of $0 to Senator Ayotte's campaign. I am particularly irked on two specific points:

  • Senator Ayotte's enthusiastic support for the Export-Import Bank is misguided. There has rarely been an issue that unites conservatives and libertarians so uniformly as this one: it's time for this corrupt institution of crony capitalism to sail into the sunset. The arguments are well-known, but if you need a short reminder, check out a recent column in The Hill by David Williams: "The Export-Import Bank is dead and should stay that way". (

  • Senator Ayotte's co-sponsorship of the "Campus Accountability and Safety Act" (CASA) is also a red light for me. The current version of CASA is a slight improvement over the previous one, but it still fails to take campus sexual assault seriously as a crime, with all that entails: an unbiased investigation, carried out by professionals, with proper respect for due process for the accused. Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner has detailed the many problems with the legislation. ( A particularly disturbing detail is the failure of Senator Ayotte's office to respond substantively to her questions about due process.

I have written to Senator Ayotte on these two issues and have received her unconvincing boilerplate replies.

Although I find Senator Ayotte's positions on those two issues particularly wrong-headed, her record shows that the problem is more general. Consider her scorecard from FreedomWorks on key issues of economic freedom. Her lifetime score ( is a mediocre 65%. And it's only that high due to her outstanding voting record in her first year. Year-by-year, her score looks like this:

2011: 83%
2012: 69%
2013: 64%
2014: 50%
2015: 33%

The scorecard from the Club for Growth ( shows a similar dismal trend:

2011: 98%
2012: 86%
2013: 79%
2014: 60%

In addition her current rating from Heritage Action ( is a very low 29%, near the bottom for Republican senators.

Given this, your claim that Senator Ayotte does not "drink the water in Washington" is laughable. My gut feeling is that she is clearly compromising the principles she ran on in 2010, cynically attempting to position herself as a "moderate" in order to be re-elected. I have no current enthusiasm for voting for her, let alone supporting her campaign financially.


Paul A. Sand