March 14th, 2014
10:06 AM ET
6 months ago

Scott Brown moves closer to Senate run in N.H.

(CNN) - Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts took his first concrete steps Friday towards launching a Republican challenge in neighboring New Hampshire against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is up for re-election this year.

Brown announced at a speech at a major GOP conference in New Hampshire that he's launching an exploratory committee, which allows him to hire staff and raise money for a Senate run.

"I am announcing that I have formed an exploratory committee to prepare a campaign for the United States Senate in New Hampshire," said Brown. "Starting tomorrow morning, and for the next several weeks, Gail (Brown's wife) and I will be traveling around the state to introduce ourselves, to ask questions, to speak with everyone of every background – Republicans, independents and Democrats alike – and above all to listen to them and learn of all of your concerns."

Brown, who's been flirting with a Senate run in the Granite State for months, made his comments Friday afternoon at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua. The two-day confab is also drawing some potential GOP 2016 presidential contenders, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a 2012 Republican White House candidate.

An adviser close to Brown, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, said that Brown on Friday morning canceled a trip he was scheduled to take to Iowa next month, where he was to headline a GOP county fundraiser.

Republican sources in New Hampshire confirmed to CNN that Brown, who recently moved to the state, spent much of the past two weeks reaching out to GOP leaders and strategists in New Hampshire, and has been quietly making early moves towards putting a campaign team together.

CNN's also confirmed that Brown cut nearly $30,000 in checks to a group of GOP state committees, and  that following his speech, he will sit down for dinner with some leading state Republicans. The dinner was first reported by WMUR's James Pindell.

Speaking Friday morning to reporters gathered outside his home in Rye, New Hampshire, Brown said "I've been in New Hampshire for decades.  We have long and strong ties here and this is our house and we're happy to be here.  Love Massachusetts, miss it very much, but you know, we're in a changing phase of our lives"

Friday afternoon, Fox News Channel ended it's contract with Brown, who served as a paid on-air contributor.

"Scott Brown’s contributor agreement was officially terminated today once he notified FOX News of his intention to form an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire," said FOX News Executive Vice President Bill Shine, in a statement.

Brown also tweeted about leaving FNC, saying "I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Fox family. Their analysis & insight has helped hold politicians accountable for their actions.....especially on ObamaCare."

State of Play

If Brown ends up launching a Senate bid and wins the party's September primary, it should expand the map for Republicans. Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

The GOP has extremely strong Senate pickup possibilities in South Dakota and West Virginia, and has a good chance of capturing Democratic-held seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana and North Carolina, all considered Republican-friendly states. If Brown runs, it would give Republicans a fighting chance to try and win Democratic held seats in four tossup states: New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa and Michigan.

As of now, the only states where Democrats can realistically go on the offense are Georgia and Kentucky.

Brown has been critical of Shaheen over her support for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He said on Friday that  "a big political wave is about to break in America and Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side of that wave."

Brown's announcement comes just three days after the GOP's victory over the Democrats in a special congressional election in Florida, where Obamacare was a key issue. (That same day the Republican candidate in a contest for New Hampshire's Executive Council also won, in somewhat of a surprise.)

While some GOP surveys suggest a Brown-Shaheen race would be competitive, the most recent public polling last week from Suffolk University indicated Shaheen with a 52%-39% lead.

CNN confirmed Friday that the pro-GOP American Crossroads will go up with a TV commercial statewide for a week starting Tuesday that attacks Shaheen. Politico was first to report on the Crossroads spot.

Meanwhile, when reports started flying Thursday evening that Brown would announce an exploratory committee, New Hampshire Democrats were quick to attack him.

"Scott Brown is for Scott Brown and the powerful interests that back him, not New Hampshire," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Communications Director Harrell Kirstein, in a statement. "New Hampshire isn't going to let Scott Brown and his big oil buddies like the Koch Brothers buy themselves a Senate seat."

From state house to Senate

In January 2010, the then little-known Republican state senator in Massachusetts pulled an upset in a special election to serve the final three years of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy's term.

Brown lost his 2012 re-election bid to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Since leaving Capitol Hill, Brown took the on-air contributor gig at Fox News, served as a colonel in the Army National Guard's office at the Pentagon, and is an attorney at the global law firm of Nixon Peabody, which has offices in Boston.

Last year, he passed on running in a special election in Massachusetts to fill the term of John Kerry, who left the Senate to become secretary of state.

And at the time, Brown also announced that he wouldn't make a 2014 bid for an open governor's seat in the Bay State.

Brown last year made a number of speaking appearances at GOP events in the Granite State. And last fall, in another hint about a possible run, he dropped the 'MA' from his Twitter handle.

A few months later, he sold his home in the Bay State and moved his residency north to New Hampshire.
 
In the spotlight

Brown has been staying in the media spotlight.

He jammed on stage recently at a concert in Lynn, Massachusetts, with longtime rock group Cheap Trick, joining the band in playing "Surrender," one of its biggest hits from the 1970s.

"Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did," he said in a Facebook post, which links to the YouTube video of Brown singing and playing guitar.

The story played across New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and grabbed some national coverage as well.

This was the second high-profile jam session for Brown, who started to play guitar about year ago. In December, he rocked with his daughter, Ayla, of "American Idol" fame, and Mike Huckabee on the former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate's Fox News Channel program.

A few weeks ago, Brown made the front page of the "Union Leader," New Hampshire's largest newspaper, as he stripped down to his bathing suit for the annual Penguin plunge at Hampton Beach. The event raises money for the Special Olympics.
Brown famously stripped down years before, as a Cosmopolitan centerfold, during his years as a law school student.
 
A brand name

Brown's well known in New England, which gives him many advantages when it comes to name recognition and fundraising. But it may also be a minus: After a couple of outside conservative groups ran TV commercials in support of Brown, Shaheen started fundraising off the threat of a Brown entry into the race.

And some outside pro-Democratic groups targeted Brown, including the Senate Majority PAC, which went up with attack ads, charging that he's a favorite of the Wall Street crowd.

Family concerns

A strategist in contact with Brown, who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely, said the former senator's weighing some family matters.

"Among those concerns is his mother's in declining health. Plus, he's helping to plan two weddings right now, as both of his daughters are getting married this summer," the strategist said.


Filed under: 2014 • Massachusetts • New Hampshire • Scott Brown • Senate
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Lolo

    He misse his paycheck, just like Sarah Palin. That is the only reason they are back in the news.

    March 14, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. 2L

    If Republicans criticized Hillary for doing it, why is it okay for Brown?

    March 14, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. FrankinSD

    TiredofNutsinWDC – States cannot add qualifications for Federal offices.

    March 14, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. FrankinSD

    In can't decide whether Scott Brown is the silliest politician in America, or the saddest. Is it possible to be both?

    March 14, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Barbara

    The only reason Liz Warren won here in MA was because he daughter and ACORN affiliated, Soros-funded group to register 500,000 welfare recipients to vote (who would have thought there were that many people on welfare considering Mass has only 6.5 million residents). I know what I'm talking about I'm from Ma.
    -----------------------------
    That's remarkable on several planes. One, what's wrong with welfare recipients voting? Two, ACORN was defunded and dismantled in 2009 following Pres. Obama's first win. Finally, how far is Ma from Ork?

    March 14, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Poor Republikkkans are too stupid to hold down a real job. Just keep suckling from the govt teat that you want to destroy so bad.

    And they call US lazy.......

    March 14, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. MaryAngeline

    When he loses, he'll just move again. Amazing how these pols think we just can't manage without them! Well Scott, we here in MA don't miss ya at all.

    March 14, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Kuron

    They accused Hillary of state shopping for a Senate seat, but they praise Brown who moves to NH for a Senate run. What hypocrites!

    March 14, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Gail me

    Good heavens man, if he fails there, is he going to try another state? Totally ridiculous

    March 14, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. jrm03063

    I can just imagine what the NH GOP would be saying, if the Democrats were putting up a candidate from Massachusetts. But we won't hold that against him. He's lousy on the merits.

    March 14, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Stomin

    What a joke. New Hampshire- I'm sorry you are getting Massachusetts flotsam.

    March 14, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Mike

    Great news!

    March 14, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rudy NYC

    Barbara

    The only reason Liz Warren won here in MA was because he daughter and ACORN affiliated, Soros-funded group to register 500,000 welfare recipients to vote (who would have thought there were that many people on welfare considering Mass has only 6.5 million residents). I know what I'm talking about I'm from Ma.
    ---------–
    That's remarkable on several planes. One, what's wrong with welfare recipients voting? Two, ACORN was defunded and dismantled in 2009 following Pres. Obama's first win. Finally, how far is Ma from Ork?
    **************************
    Presumably Barbara is a fan of only allowing white, male property owners voting as well. Ordinarilly, we would be applauding any efforts to get people registered to vote, but only in the feverish mind of the new Right is that a bad thing. Comments like that only underscore the level of paranoia some on the Right have sunk to. Any time they lose, it must be due to a conspiracy, voter stupidity, bribery, or the media being in cahoots with a socialist billionaire. Its never about their ideals, which we know are pure and always work, provided everyone does their part to subsidize the wealthy and grant them exhaulted status. Bow, peasant!

    March 14, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Let's not forget Kuron, they embraced the same people that swore up and down that President Obama shouldn't be POTUS because according to them, he wasn't born in the US. They said it didn't matter if his mother was a US citizen or not, he was Kenyan born. Then they turn right around and prop up Turd Cruz, who was born in Canada.

    Go figure......

    March 14, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. RJ GOLDMAN

    Sam Houston and John Geary were the only two people to serve as Governor of two different states. Sam Houston was the only one to serve in Congress from two different states.
    Is Scott Brown number 2?

    March 14, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. bobo

    Scott Brown is good for All New England!

    March 14, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. airjackie

    Koch Bros need to file the Senate/Congress/White House and then control the United States as Fred Koch had worked so hard to do. Finally Charles/David Koch completed the work their Dad worked so hard to do once he became wealthy working with the Soviet Union. America is for sale and the Koch bros. are buying puppets as American citizen are distracted with racism and hate Obama.

    March 14, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the majority repub/tea bag members

    @Barbara: "The only reason Liz Warren won here in MA was because he daughter and ACORN affiliated, Soros-funded group to register 500,000 welfare recipients to vote (who would have thought there were that many people on welfare considering Mass has only 6.5 million residents). I know what I'm talking about I'm from MA.

    ACORN has been used by BOTH parties in the past to register voters – all of whom CANNOT vote until certified by the Secretary of State for that particular state. BTW, ACORN is no longer in existence, thanks to the RWNJ witchhunt.

    Regarding welfare recipients, you think because someone is in need they shouldn't be allowed to vote? And BTW, as of 2008, MA had 110,419 welfare recipients; cite your source that there are now 500,000.

    March 14, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Kuron

    They accused Hillary of state shopping for a Senate seat, but they praise Brown who moves to NH for a Senate run. What hypocrites!
    ------------------–
    Brown has already held a Senate seat in MA, and lost it. Now he's shopping, as you put it, for another state. Hillary did nothing of the sort. In fact, Hillary won her re-election. She's not hopping from state to state "shopping" for a seat.

    March 14, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Markiejoe

    Brown seriously doesn't think the "carpetbagger" label will doom his N.H. Senate run? He's delusional.

    March 14, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. OhioGirl

    Scott Brown has owned a home in NH, and paid taxes in NH, for at least a decade.

    March 14, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. Peter

    That one guy is running for Congress in four states

    March 14, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. Way Out There

    At least he is not a Free Stater.

    March 14, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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