March 14th, 2014
10:06 AM ET
9 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. Rudy NYC

    Great. I would encourage him to run. New Hampshire could use the advertising dollars that is likely to result. Let there be job creators creating jobs.

    March 14, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The adviser, 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."

    So, he's going to concentrate on his New Hampshire "roots" after all? Good. That will make it easier on a media fascinated by his every move to follow those movements as he leads them from point A to point B.

    March 14, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Moonbat Shaheen is toast no mater who the opponent is.

    March 14, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Enough is Enough

    Sorry, I'm a conservative republican but I don't like this. You representas Mass Scott. How can you now suddenly represent another state? I ddn't like it when Hillary did it and I don't like it when you do it.

    March 14, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. don in albuquerque

    Great!!!! I can see billboards all over NM with his foldout.

    March 14, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Enough is Enough

    Sorry, I'm a conservative republican but I don't like this. You representas Mass Scott. How can you now suddenly represent another state? I ddn't like it when Hillary did it and I don't like it when you do it.
    ----–
    Yeah. Agreed.

    March 14, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I remember the Ditto Heads at Fox calling Hillary a "carpetbagger" when she ran for the senate in NY.

    March 14, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    While some GOP surveys suggest a Brown-Shaheen race would be competitive
    -------------------------------------------------
    Well, what else would you expect a GOP survey to say?
    I'm surprised they weren't more enthusiastic.
    Meanwhile other polls show Shaheen with a substantial double-digit lead...

    March 14, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. NH Native

    I do not think the citizens of NH will elect Scott Brown. It is clearly obvious that he only wants to go back to the senate so that he can run for president in 2016. Cancelling an appearance at a fund raisers in Iowa? NH people will not be fooled by Brown's attempt to use the seat as a stepping stone.

    March 14, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    --–because he is not sold in his own state, ding......

    March 14, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Georgia

    Pick a state . . . any state

    March 14, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. MattyinNC

    GOP voters – now is the time to take a stand and say "NO" to this carpetbagger! Or is this another case of it being okay for Libby Dole and now Brown, but not Hillary Clinton?

    March 14, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Mark

    The media will attack moderate or conservative. Only left wing liberal is a pass

    March 14, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Fair is Fair
    Enough is Enough

    Sorry, I'm a conservative republican but I don't like this. You representas Mass Scott. How can you now suddenly represent another state? I ddn't like it when Hillary did it and I don't like it when you do it.
    --–
    Yeah. Agreed.
    ----------

    I agree as well. That's the problem when we adapt a "both sides" do it argument. It loses its flavor. Some have also put Dick Cheney on that list of carpetbaggers when he was added to GW's ticket.

    March 14, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Donnie the Lion

    Yawn.....I'm remembering an old song by Beck as I read this.

    March 14, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. JJ

    There goes the retread loser thing again. :)

    March 14, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. kiddingme

    How often does the father help "plan a wedding"? Even if it's to ensure it doesn't tarnish his election potential, he'd have an aide do that task...

    March 14, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. On streetwise

    "Scott Brown moves closer to Senate run in N.H." SOOOOOOOO, Brownie is going to gerrymander the whole damn state to grab his senate seat.

    March 14, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. much thunder...little rain

    bill and hillary left ark went to new york...big deal ..let the people decide...

    March 14, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. navaJohn

    If you can't make it in your own state, move next door! No thanks.

    March 14, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Wake up People!

    This doesn't seem right to me. I'm going to have to agree with Lynda, Fair and the other poster. And I would feel this way about a democrat too.

    IMO, if you want to run for office, you do it in the state you reside in. You don't run all over the country testing the waters.

    March 14, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. wendel

    it is only good if a repo changes states. The republican party is so two faced remember when Hillary moved to NY . But then this is different this old center fold took his clothes off and Hillary won because she was smart and informed.

    March 14, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Liz

    As a conservative I support Scott Brown, what difference does it make if he was in Mass. now New Hampshire, Kennedys did it, Hillary Clinton, did it, the democrats have been running in other states for years. I am voting for jobs and to throw out every leftist Democrat. The Democrats never created anything but welfare.

    March 14, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. Pat

    Just another Koch brother puppet.
    You people have better wake up and stop voting republican.
    Or the next time you wake up you would not have a bed to wake up in.

    March 14, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Frink

    Career politician needs new job. News at 11.

    March 14, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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