March 14th, 2014
10:06 AM ET
10 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. ritmocojo

    Snow Snookie Palin is the female version sans the brains of Scott Brown.

    March 14, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. mike trottier

    He's just another kochsucker.
    There's PLENTY of Great people in New Hampshire who will do a much better job representing them than scott brown.
    Granitestaters hate it when a loser from Mass., comes up here and tell them how to run their state,...or what good for them.
    VOTE NO on Scott Brown

    March 14, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    I'm just wondering if be loses will he try another state??

    March 14, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    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.
    --------------------–
    It all about the money. It always has been, and it always will be. They don't hate government, per se. There are people who feel that government is standing in the way of them inreasing their profits. There are people who look at the tax dollars that they may pay as money out of their pocket going to people who haven't earned it, and they simply want their money boack. Right wing economic policies make no logical or moral sense until you view them through the prism of greed. Now it all makes perfect sense.

    March 14, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. bob_lawbla

    Funny how the Dems will criticize Scott Brown for doing in NH the same exact thing that Hillary Clinton did NY.

    It seems the Dems don't really like "level playing fields"

    March 14, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Solomon Walker

    No.
    Look – no one knows this man. We've never seen him before. There is no difference between him and corrupted Jeanne Shaheen.

    So – pffffffffft.

    Another wannabe something that makes a hell of a lot of money as a lawyer. So – yippee – America gets another lawyer as a president.

    And, yet – no one still knows who he is in New Hampshire.
    I'm related to all of them.
    I know.
    I asked.

    March 14, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. VJ

    Scott Brown again!!!!

    March 14, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Steve

    Good for you Mr. Brown. I hope you win and maintain a moderate approach to policy and laws.

    March 14, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. WillyNilly

    So this is a Republican strategy... to move a loser from one state to a neighboring state. Isn't it likely that the imported loser will divide the party vote? I can't see the advantage to this strategy. However, it is clear that the moneyed minority are very interested in putting their candidates in races in poor states where they can get more bang for their buck. I live in such a state where a seat will soon open up. I fully expect to see a very unpleasant media campaign simply because the moneyed manipulators hope to buy the seat for their personal enrichment. The only answer is for people to educate themselves and vote.

    March 14, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. sly

    Who is this guy? Appears Republicans are ashamed to appear in public these days, which is fine with Americans.

    America is doing quite well right now – President Obama is the first President I can remember who has not started a war. Toss in record stock markets and 401ks, and deficit down 47% in 2014, we are continuing our path to prosperity. Still work to do – and future President Hillary Clinton is the one for that job.

    March 14, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. QS

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

    Conservatives have, literally, gone insane if they think continuing to attack the ACA will be a winning strategy for them when they have nothing to offer as an alternative....nothing.

    And running a loser candidate like Scott Brown is just another sign of that signature insanity we've come to expect from this "party".

    March 14, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Bill Schretter

    Great. Another career candidate. If you can't get elected in your own state- move to another? Career politicians are the problem in DC. Does he have New Hampshire's best interests at heart, or just his career goals. There is no resident good GOP candidate in NH?

    March 14, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    If the people of NH are dumb enough to vote for this transplant then they deserve what they get. Their neighboring state didn't want him but they did have a fantastic woman running against him.

    March 14, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Pam

    So, is that how the GOP works? Shame yourself in one state, and then just go to another one to do it again?
    Whatever happened to 'representing the citizens of a state' instead of just trying to get in where you can so you can further your party's agenda instead of furthering this country??

    March 14, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Jamal

    I hope Scott Brown wins by a Landslide. But what do I know....I've was a registered Dem for 30 years, with emphasis on "was". I finally woke up. Better late than never, eh?

    March 14, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Steve

    Hey Wake Up People, that is what Democrats have done for years to my state. Look in the mirror before you cast your nasty liberal stones. Better yet, most liberal women need to exercise their freedom of choice.

    March 14, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. NIckAnast

    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!!!!!!"
    *****************************************************************************

    Wow, someone is living in an alternate universe. Remember how the GOP was supposed to win control of the Senate in 2012? How did that work out? And when the Dems start hammering the GOP on raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits, a lot of voters who otherwise would have stayed home this year will decide to vote instead. You should be ready for two surprises: (1) Brown won't beat Shaheen and (2) Walker will not even win the GOP nomination in 2016, let alone the presidency.

    March 14, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. stevetaller

    Professor Milburn Cleaver???? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You just don't get it, do you? We'll mark your words alright, but just like the last election, you can look forward to a dwindling support base made up of old, pissed-off white men, disillusioned Tea Party nut jobs, and disconnected clowns like Scott Walker. Man, I wish I could get a cash bet down with you. Easy pickins!

    March 14, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Martha in CF

    So the Democrats will be losing because of Obamacare. So -try taking Obamacare away from the people who so desperately needed it. Wake up, Wake up. The Republicans are doing everything they can to take everything they can away from the middle class and the countries poor. Seniors as well. Money is buying Congress-the Koch brothers money. A sad day for America WAKE UP WAKE UP

    March 14, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. LogicRules

    Ok, my next question is whether he is going to ride the pickup truck down to Washington again..oh ya, I forgot, that was a prop.

    March 14, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. TSRVT

    Toast is brown and vice-versa.

    March 14, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. salty dog

    Jamal, if you seriously think the gop will help you, your still dreaming.

    March 14, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. phillip barker

    Remember when the government shutdown was blamed upon the Republicans by all the indignant liberals? And, all the indignant liberals were forecasting the total destruction of the GOP in 2014? Better re-think that, Libs. All of Soro's money, and all of Soro's men can't put HuimptyObama together again.

    March 14, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. NFL1

    Scott and Hillary=Apples and Oranges...As a New Yorker, Hillary had NOT run and lost in another state, she and her husband moved to NY after a very successful two terms in Washington...and she began her own political career. We were happy to have such an experienced, strong woman as our Senator.

    March 14, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. NFL1

    New Hampshire, like Vermont, are very independent...while NH leans GOP and VT leans Dem, both do not appreciate outsiders coming in and thinking they understand their state...in many areas of the state it takes generations for newcomers to be accepted as townies...except those living cities across the line from Massachusetts, who work in MA...these are more like dual citizens vs. New Hampshire-ites.

    March 14, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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