05/10/2013 12:14 pm ET Updated May 10, 2013

Kelly Ayotte Defense Ad Features Republican Activists As Average New Hampshirites

The American Future Fund, a pro-Republican nonprofit, is running an ad defending Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), whose approval ratings dropped precipitously following her vote against expanded gun background checks. A ThinkProgress investigation found that many of the apparently ordinary citizens speaking in the ad are actually local Republican Party activists.

Jayne Millerick is described as a "New Hampshire mom" in the spot. Referring to gun control groups' recent criticism of Ayotte, Millerick says, "Those attack commercials are partisan and deliberately misleading."

But left out of the American Future Fund ad is that Millerick is a former chairwoman of the New Hampshire state Republican Party. In May 2012, the political consultant wrote an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union-Leader titled, "A Republican advantage emerges on health care," which called for the repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Barbara Dutile, described as a "New Hampshire law enforcement official" in the ad, says Ayotte has "worked closely with New Hampshire law enforcement to put violent criminals behind bars." What the ad doesn't note is that Dutile's husband is the Republican sheriff of Grafton County. Doug Dutile received $500 from Mitt Romney and hosted a lunch for him and Dutile's fellow sheriffs. He was also an alternate delegate for Romney at the 2012 Republican convention.

Judy Brown, described as another New Hampshire mom, says, "Kelly has the courage and independence to stand up and do what's right for New Hampshire." Brown received a "Republican of the Year" award for Nashua, N.H.

Ayotte's vote against background checks last month has triggered an ad war. Americans for Responsible Solutions, a pro-gun control group started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), has run radio ads hitting the senator. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a pro-gun control group backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, launched television ads. The National Rifle Association responded with ads backing Ayotte.

The American Future Fund is spending around $250,000 on its television ad, according to Politico. But overall, pro-gun control groups are outspending gun rights advocates in New Hampshire, The Washington Post reports.

Read ThinkProgress' report here.



News Editorials React To Gun Bill Defeat