Crucial Senate battle heating up
April 11th, 2014
11:13 AM ET
8 months ago

Crucial Senate battle heating up

(CNN) – Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts will go up Monday with his first television commercial in his Republican bid for the Senate in neighboring New Hampshire.

The launch of the ad, coming just four days after Brown formally kicked off his campaign, is another sign that if he wins his party's nomination, his GOP challenge against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen could turn the contest in the Granite State into one of the most high profile and expensive Senate races in the country.

And word of the spot comes as a new poll indicates Shaheen's lead over Brown in a possible November election showdown is shrinking to single digits.

CNN: Key races to watch in 2014

The ad, first reported by WMUR's James Pindell, highlights Brown's recent listening tour throughout New Hampshire.

"Scott Brown has almost 300,000 miles on this truck," says the narrator says in the spot. "Over the last few weeks it's taken him all across New Hampshire, listening, learning – and what he's learned is pretty simple: People want an America that leads the world again, a health care system that works for new Hampshire and more good jobs."

Brown has made opposition to the health care law a key part of his push for the Senate. His campaign says the commercial will run on WMUR, the main television station in the state, but aides wouldn't share details on how much money they were putting behind the spot, or how long it would run.

Shaheen has yet to run a TV commercial, but her campaign has gone up with radio ads. The real action in the campaign ad wars in New Hampshire has come from national outside groups.

Two of the biggest players when it comes to outside spending, Americans for Prosperity (which is backed by the big bucks of the billionaire industrialist Koch Brothers) and American Crossroads (which was co-founded by Karl Rove), have poured more than $1 million into the race, mostly to attack Shaheen for her support of the health care law.

And the Ending Spending Action Fund, a pro-Republican outside group, went up this week statewide with a TV commercial that used a clip of Brown from four years ago slamming the new federal health care law. The spot ends with the narrator saying that "Scott Brown was right on Obamacare then, he's right for New Hampshire Now. The group put out a spot last year in an effort to convince Brown to run for the Senate in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC spent almost $200,000 to run ads supporting Shaheen.

Poll indicates single digit race

According to a new WMUR/University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll, Shaheen holds a 45%-39% advantage over Brown among likely voters in a potential general election matchup. Shaheen's six percentage point advantage is down from a 10 point lead in January. Fourteen percent are undecided in the new survey.

The incumbent had a double digit advantage in two polls conducted last month. According to a Suffolk University/Boston Herald survey, Shaheen had a 52%-39% lead among New Hampshire voters. And the senator was up 50%-38% over her potential GOP challenger in an American Research Group survey conducted around the same time.

Brown joins three other Republicans who are running for their party's Senate nomination in New Hampshire: former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, former state Sen. Jim Rubens, and conservative activist Karen Testerman. The winner of the September 9 primary will face off against Shaheen, who also served for six years as the state's governor.

In the new poll, Shaheen leads Smith by 14 points, Reubens by 21 points and Testerman by 23 points. But in all four of the potential November showdowns, the incumbent's under 50%. And the high rate of undecideds may also be troubling to the senator, as political experts generally believe that undecided voters tend to break against the incumbent.

But the survey indicates that Shaheen is viewed much more favorably than Brown. The senator has a plus 14% net favorablility, compared to Brown's minus 10%. But Shaheen's favorable opinion among crucial independent voters has dropped significantly.

Brown kicks off campaign

Brown formally kicked off his campaign Thursday at an event in Portsmouth. The sea coast city's setting emphasizes his roots in the Granite State. His mother lives in the vicinity, he spent a lot of his childhood in the area, and he was born just across the Piscataqua River, in Kittery, Maine.

"Our campaign for the U.S. Senate begins not far from where my life began. I was born right over there at the Naval Shipyard. When my Mom was a young woman, she was a waitress in Hampton Beach, my Dad an airman at Pease. They met, fell in love, and a year or so later I came along. When they carried me home, it was to a house not far from here on Islington Street," Brown said.

Since late year, when he began considering a Senate bid in New Hampshire, Brown's been highlighting his ties to the Granite State, to push back against Democrats' characterizations of him as a "carpetbagger" from Massachusetts.

Shaheen's big numbers

As Brown was preparing for his kickoff in Portsmouth, Shaheen reported her best fundraising quarter in her nearly six years in the Senate. Her campaign announced that they raised more than $1.5 million the past three months. They say that brings to $7.3 million the total amount they've raised so far this election cycle, and that they've got $4.35 million cash on hand. The campaign adds that 27,000 people donated to Shaheen in the first quarter, up 12,000 from the previous three months.

"Our campaign is proud of all the grassroots support our campaign has generated to date and we're confident we'll have the resources we'll need to win this November, regardless of whom Republicans nominate to run against Jeanne Shaheen," said her campaign spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

From Massachusetts to New Hampshire

Brown, then a little-known state senator, in Massachusetts, scored an upset victory in a special election in January 2010 to serve the final three years of the term of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had died the previous summer. Brown lost his bid 2012 re-election bid for a full six-year term to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Last year, Brown 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 made a number of speaking appearances at GOP events in New Hampshire last year, where he spent much of his childhood and where he owned a vacation home. 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 Massachusetts and moved his residency north to the Granite State.

Last month, Brown announced that he was forming an exploratory committee, which allowed him to raise money and hire staff for a Senate bid. He immediately began a listening tour across New Hampshire. And last Friday CNN confirmed that a former longtime close aide, Colin Reed, had left his job as deputy communications director for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to serve as Brown's campaign manager.

If Brown ends up winning the GOP's September primary, it could 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, like New Hampshire.


Filed under: 2014 • Jeanne Shaheen • New Hampshire • Scott Brown • Senate
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Hooper

    Another Archie Comic audition reject. Thought to be the savior of the republican party. Your party couldn't be resurrected if it were placed on a stainless steel table, and lightning struck it. Forget about it.

    April 11, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "According to a new WMUR/University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll, Shaheen holds a 45%-39% advantage over Brown among likely voters in a potential general election matchup. "
    -------–
    Hahahahaha... ANY incumbent polling under 50% usually spells trouble.

    April 11, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. CryBabies

    Hooper........Soooooo insightful!! Childish blabber.

    April 11, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Marcus (from...?)

    Hooper – The problem with your analogy is that the body is in the stainless steel table already, waiting for a good brain and a lightning. But 'Igor' don't wants to bring in a 'good' brain, he wants (on purpose this time around) that a 'abnormal' one is used and is threatening to cut all the wires linking the the receptors for lightnings on the roof to the table (which woulkd make any chance of the creature to ever rise null) if a 'normal' one is used!

    April 11, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Gunderson

    Hooper,
    Don't count your Chickens before they hatch.

    April 11, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Silence DoGood

    "Two of the biggest players when it comes to outside spending, Americans for Prosperity (which is backed by the big bucks of the billionaire industrialist Koch Brothers) and American Crossroads (which was co-founded by Karl Rove)"
    ------------
    Dems, get out the vote to fight this.

    April 11, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Thomas

    Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is so manly and hansom , " A Grecian Male Model with the Mind of a Scott Walker or Florida Gov. Rick Scott with hair .

    He is the walking manifestation of the meaning of leadership .

    Why did he leave Massachusetts ?

    April 11, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    Thomas

    Former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is so manly and hansom , " A Grecian Male Model with the Mind of a Scott Walker or Florida Gov. Rick Scott with hair .

    He is the walking manifestation of the meaning of leadership .

    Why did he leave Massachusetts ?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Because he was run out of office on a rail after being declared Wall Street's favorite pet.

    April 11, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Lizzie

    Better start with the namecalling and derogatory remarks, discredit him no matter what true or false.

    April 11, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Marcus (from...?)

    Lizzie – That is SO not going to be necessary.
    Simple facts, like why he wasn't reelected?, or why was he named Wall Street's favorite, are more than enough to let NH voters know who is Mr. Scott Brown.

    April 11, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    Since the money-brothers and Addelson got basically zero return on their investments in 2012, I guess they're hoping for better results this time, Of course there is no place to go but up after their losers got throttled last time

    April 11, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. it must be asked

    So what has Shaheen done for NH in her 6 years in the Senate? I mean besides vote in lockstep with Obama and Harry Reid? Obamacare in NH is a disaster, with people not having access to local hospitals. Thanks Shaheen for screwing over the people of NH.

    April 11, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    Better start with the namecalling and derogatory remarks, discredit him no matter what true or false.
    ----------------------------
    "Scott Brown and the Republicans want to take away your health care insurance policy."

    The truth is more than adequate Who needs to tell lies? Republicans, that's who.

    April 11, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    @ it must be asked: what did Scott Brown do for the people of MA in the 2 years he was there? He voted for Romneycare, and he took advantage of Obamacare for his own family. What does tat say about your savior in NH? Sounds like he did everything possible to fly under the radar so he could keep his job, and it failed.

    April 11, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    @CryBabies
    Hooper........Soooooo insightful!! Childish blabber.

    Actually, it was a pretty clever analogy!

    April 11, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, no one takes away anything, but change it so it will HELP ALL people.
    Malory..... And President Obamas ambition is to become a pin up. (His own words)

    April 11, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Lizzie
    Better start with the namecalling and derogatory remarks, discredit him no matter what true or false.
    ----------
    "Scott Brown and the Republicans want to take away your health care insurance policy."
    The truth is more than adequate Who needs to tell lies? Republicans, that's who.
    ----------
    Funny that the choices conservatives think of to battle an election do not include the novel concept of "Truth".

    April 11, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Hooper

    Chickens are counted. They are all good setting hens, and crowing roosters. Better than the pigeons that vote for the handlers of their coop.

    April 11, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, no one takes away anything, but change it so it will HELP ALL people.
    Malory..... And President Obamas ambition is to become a pin up. (His own words)
    ------------------------
    If they repeal the ACA, then they will be taking health care insurance away from millions of people. Period. They have no replacement. The Republican Party's only intent is a full repeal, as demonstrated by the "Plan for Prosperity" joke on the American people that Paul Ryan claims is a balanced budget, which it isn't. It would balloon the annual deficits.

    April 11, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    GOP has no clue.

    April 11, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Duke

    He's a Carpet-bagger, plain and simple. If the people of New Hampshire are THAT hard up for a leader on the GOP side, why didn't you at least wait for a guy with an I.Q.larger than his shoe size?
    When all you are going to run on is "lets take health care away from millions of people, especially poor people" you need better candidates

    April 11, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Tommyk

    Scott Brown takes up "residency" in NH this past December and four months later announces a run for the Senate. It's one thing to live in NH a few years before running for office but his act his insult and a disgrace to the people of NH. He didn't move there for the quality of life, no sales or income tax, the mountains, lakes, forests, oceans and a good job, he "moved" there for one thing and one thing only: to run for office. The Republicans are so desperate to win an election they are willing to sell out NH to a carpetbagger. After Brown loses to Shaheen I wonder what state he will takes up residency next time?

    April 11, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    Thank you, CNN, you could have stopped at "neighboring New Hampshire"

    April 11, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. emskadittle

    do you really think they are going to elect this boston guy?

    April 11, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Is Scott Brown going to run against Sen. Shaheen ethnic background like he did against Sen. Warren?

    April 11, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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