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. moose & squirrel

    Like the thief walking down the hallway, checking each door to see which one is unlocked.

    March 14, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. A. Goodwin

    Scott Brown doesn't stand a chance in NH!! Every poll that has come out so far in our great state has him bottom of the pack. So go right ahead and waste your money on a failed bid to run. Your party is all ready losing ground in this state – might as well seal the deal with a Scott Brown run!!

    March 14, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    I'm wondering has he been employed since being voted out of office?? I have to smile at these same people demonizing the government as they break their necks to be a part of it. But I guess it's easier than a real job. Yet they call us lazy.

    Too funny.

    March 14, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. A. Goodwin

    Liz – the only job Scott Brown cares about is his. Even when he was the Senator from MA – he spent his time making sure the richest Americans lined his coffers – he did very little for the actual citizens of MA!!

    March 14, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    Aww A Goodwin, but she probably thinks he's hot!

    March 14, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. SEBC

    he should win on looks alone!

    March 14, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Gary

    Again, CNN, explain to you "writers" that "Obamacare was a key issue in Florida" is an untrue statement. If anyone with have the knowledge about Pinellas County will tell you Alex Sink had little chance of winning because she is over played her hand in Pinellas county for years.

    March 14, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ------------------------–
    Tell that to Rand Paul. Make up your mind, and commit yourself to that path. Paul is pushing for a bill the Kentucky state legislature that would allow someone to run for both POTUS and the Senate at the same time.

    March 14, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Wake up People!
    He's working for the law firm of Nixon Peabody in between jamming sessions, fundraisers and photo shoots.

    March 14, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Mark

    Brown is just another puppet owned wholly by the Kock-h Brothers.

    March 14, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. TNPatriot

    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.
    --------
    Except that neither The Kennedy's or Hillary Clinton went to a different state because they KNEW that the voters in their 'home' state would never elect them again, after serving one partial term!

    March 14, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Booblay

    He's going to pull a "Palin". Stay annoyingly in the public eye, collect huge speaking fees, be a guest on Faux News, and never run for public office again.

    March 14, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. LWJR

    Joe Kennedy Liquor/Depression Real Estate fortune has Mass sowed up maybe?

    March 14, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. CoolCMo

    Another empty suit dancing at the end of the Koch brothers' strings.

    March 14, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Common Sense

    Go Scott! It looks bad for the democrats this year, really bad, so let's improve the Republican majority as wide as it can get.....Let us speed up that moment in American history when we have finally put the headstone on the worst presidency in our nation's history. Winning in November will start that final push to ignominy for BHO

    March 14, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Pat, just like Hillary, Pres.Obama and every democrat is a puppet of George Soros

    March 14, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Lizzie

    The GOP Solution, democrats already did that.

    March 14, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. mike

    squeal all you want libs!! there is blood in the water and you will lose the senate decisively!!

    March 14, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Lizzie

    TNPatriot, guess you don't live in Arkansas

    March 14, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. dinkydow

    Weak Democrats everywhere. And, Republicans only need to point out Obamacare votes to win. It's like shooting Fish in a barrel.

    March 14, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. CC

    When I see a photo of a politician that I don't recognize my first instinct is to see if I can tell whether they are a Democrat or Republican. I saw Republican right away with this man and looked at the article to be sure I was right. It's usually easy to tell but I never asked myself why I was so good at this guessing game. So, I looked back at the picture and interestingly enough I saw what appeared to be energetic walls around him.

    March 14, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Solomon Walker

    Might be a distant cousin – don't know – but I do know that no one I know knows Scott Brown – and that's all of my other 1 million resident family in the State of New Hampshire.

    I am sorry.

    How much did he pay for this news article?

    March 14, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Wake up People!

    Thanks DM! And Rudy, what Ole Anne Rand is trying to do is plain wrong! Are these people afraid of real work? This is the government they hate so much. Nothing but a bunch of Koch puppets feeding off the very thing they claim to hate.

    March 14, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Patrish

    The rest in Florida between Sink and Jolly was within 5,000 votes and if there had not been a 3rd candidates that got 4,000+ votes, then Jolly may not have won. The county has be Republican for over 40 years, so no matter who ran under the Republican ticket, there was a good chance they would win. So it wasn't as much about Obamacare as Republicans like to think.

    March 14, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Professor Milburn Cleaver

    The question is not whether Senator Brown will take the New Hampshire seat, but by how large a margin. Obamacare will doom the Democrats, not only this year but in 2016. Mark my words, in 2017 there will be two "Scotts" in DC. New Hamshire Sen. Scott Brown and U.S. President Scott Walker!
    Class Dismissed!!!!!!

    March 14, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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