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. Donna

    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"
    --

    Yeah, you gotta love it huh? They always throw out the usual "its apples to oranges comparison", 'that's a false equivolency", "nice try", "you got no facts", baloney. Their responses are all becoming quite canned, borrowing and as we all know, nothing but lies.

    March 14, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Missy

    What America needs is a third party, enough of this democrat/republican crap!

    March 14, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    phillip barker

    Remember when the government shutdown was blamed upon the Republicans by all the indignant liberals?
    -------------------------–
    Republicans, at the urging of Ted Cruz, did shut the government down. Everyone knows that, even Ted Cruz. Boehner publicly chewed Cruz out about it a few short weeks ago, after Cruz had come out and said that he knew all along that shutting down the government was a strategy doomed to failure. Where have you been?

    March 14, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. salty dog

    The oracle is back, stand down everyone.

    March 14, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Tommy G

    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.
    --

    A carpetbagger by any other name is still a carpetbagger! What did Hillary Clinton know of the views and needs of New Yorkers, a state in which she had never lived? NOTHING. At keast Scott Brwon has lived in New Hampshire. You lefties and your bs is getting really really old.

    March 14, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. just saying

    democrats can kiss the nh senate seat good bye if scott brown runs. shaheen is an obamacare supporter/casaulty. embrace the suck democrats. it is what you've always wanted, but not what the american people wanted. and now it is time to pay the price for your lies.

    March 14, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. salty dog

    Right, we all know, if you want the truth listen to the Republicans, lmao.

    March 14, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. mike in NH

    This is one NH resident who looks forward to Brown running, he'll have my strong support.

    Interesting that there are a lot of non-residents spouting their opinions on a NH election, well they don't count.

    March 14, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    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"
    -

    Yeah, you gotta love it huh? They always throw out the usual "its apples to oranges comparison", 'that's a false equivolency", "nice try", "you got no facts", baloney. Their responses are all becoming quite canned, borrowing and as we all know, nothing but lies.
    -----------------------
    You're both mistaken. Democrats had complained about it at the time. However, Hillary Clinton had met all of the NY residency requirements. Do you recall that NY house search they did back in 1998? Hillary lived in it and filed NY state income taxes for two years prior to running. Scott Brown merely owns a vacation home in NH. If he ran in MA in 2012, then that means he filed MA taxes, not NH.

    March 14, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Tony

    If Scott Brown wins the primary I will vote for the Libertarian Candidate, you've been warned.

    March 14, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Tim

    Got to love all the comments about carpetbaggers- they always have been and will be and some have done just fine. What is most humorous is how people tend to have a problem with hiring a person from another state to represent them yet have no problem giving their lives to people from all over the place coming together as a government and then telling them how to run our lives. As Hillary so correctly stated, "at this point what difference does it make?" finally, if everyone is happy with those they now have representing them, I guess the low poll numbers congress will make no difference at all as we will al vote our current representatives back in. You know, it is always those representative from the other states that are the problems!

    March 14, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Peace

    My fellow Dems, don't worry about this man Scott Brown, it is all about: bang, bang, bang and not reaching anywhere. In 2010, it was bang, bang and taking the late Kennedy's seat, how long did it go? How can he make anyone afraid now after all these debacles. He is playing in people's psychology. Don't let him even an inch to get advantage of you. He has to go away!

    March 14, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Flat-lander

    Sorry NH, but we're going to have to wall you off now.

    March 14, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. jimboob@hotmail.com

    Down south he would be called a "Carpet Bagger" but I'm not sure what they call 'em up north. Maybe a "Tea Bagger"?

    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    phillip barker

    Remember when the government shutdown was blamed upon the Republicans by all the indignant liberals?
    ---------–
    Republicans, at the urging of Ted Cruz, did shut the government down. Everyone knows that, even Ted Cruz. Boehner publicly chewed Cruz out about it a few short weeks ago, after Cruz had come out and said that he knew all along that shutting down the government was a strategy doomed to failure. Where have you been?
    ---------
    Cruz bragged about how he shut it down. He was proud of it. He probably got a Tea-Purity merit badge or something for domestic terrorism in action. Sad when the historical revisionists cannot get their stories straight.

    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. smith

    @Sly-Ever heard of Libya? I know, that doesn`t count.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Yeah Right

    Well if Rick Santorum is going to be there Scott is a shoe in. NH follows the belief system of Sanitarium to a tee /eyeroll

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. Bob Johnson

    Carpetbagger, just like Clinton. Can't win in his own state, so he'll try to tell the good people of New Hampshire where they went wrong in electing Shaheen. Should go over like a lead balloon. New Hampshirites are a finicky lot. Lived there for several years.

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Mabel Schwartz

    What genuine New Hampshire-ite would ever vote for a carpetbagging, over-ambitious Massachusican?

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Nadanother Carpetbagger

    What is it with Republicans and all these carpetbaggers lately?

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Dean

    Shaheen supports Obamacare. Can we just call the election now?

    March 14, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Goodbye G.O.P!

    What a joke!! Now the loser from Massachusetts wants to milk N.H. voters, too?? Lol!!

    Why anyone would want to support a pocket-liner for the wealthy elite like Brown is beyond me..

    March 14, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. smith

    .

    March 14, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. GreyMan

    Republican and Democrats are idiots!!

    March 14, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Don't get discouraged, senator. If NH sours too, forget Massachussetts. There are still 48 other states that might fall for your brand of misogyny and political opportunism.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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