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Brown’s official entrance into U.S. Senate race met with excitement from N.H. Republicans

  • The media and supporters crowd around Scott Brown (facing away) following his announcement for his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    The media and supporters crowd around Scott Brown (facing away) following his announcement for his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Scott Brown announces campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Scott Brown announces campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Emily Simons, 16, and her mother Joanne, of Dover, wait for Scott Brown's announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Emily Simons, 16, and her mother Joanne, of Dover, wait for Scott Brown's announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Scott Brown delivers a speech during his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Scott Brown delivers a speech during his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Scott Brown (second from left), his daughter Arianna and wife Gail greet supporters following his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Scott Brown (second from left), his daughter Arianna and wife Gail greet supporters following his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • The media and supporters crowd around Scott Brown (facing away) following his announcement for his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Scott Brown announces campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Emily Simons, 16, and her mother Joanne, of Dover, wait for Scott Brown's announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Scott Brown delivers a speech during his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Scott Brown (second from left), his daughter Arianna and wife Gail greet supporters following his announcement of his campaign for U.S. Senate seat at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Scott Brown supporters cheer "We want Scott" during the speech he delivered while announcing his candidacy at the Sheraton hotel in Portsmouth on Thursday evening, April 10, 2014. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

When Bob Smith announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate last month, he did it before a crowd of no more than a few dozen people in Concord.

When Scott Brown made his candidacy official last night, in contrast, it was before a crowd of 200 in Portsmouth, complete with a giant American flag draped behind him and an introduction from former governor John H. Sununu.

“There’s electricity in this room; it’s been a while since I’ve seen this,” said Renee Plummer, an active Republican from Portsmouth who served as a delegate for Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid.

Brown, who is now officially in the race after months of speculation, brings the kind of star power to the race that New Hampshire Republicans say the race had been lacking. Although the primary is six months away, he’s often talked about as the presumed front-runner and a candidate who can win over New Hampshire’s independent voters.

A WMUR Granite State Poll released last night shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leading Brown by six percentage points if the election were to be held now. In contract, Shaheen led the next closest Republican, former U.S. senator Bob Smith, by 14 points. (The poll has a 4.4 percent margin of error.)

New Hampshire Democrats have been crafting fundraising messages around Brown’s possible candidacy for months. Yesterday, House Speaker Terie Norelli and Democratic National Committee member Kathy Sullivan said Brown is no match for Shaheen.

“Those of us who have lived and worked here know that New Hampshire is Shaheen territory,” Norelli said.

But in his announcement yesterday, Brown said he will provide a more independent voice in Washington than Shaheen. A recent analysis showed Shaheen votes with President Obama 99 percent of the time, a fact that’s become a top talking point for Republicans.

“Across this state – wherever you go – you’ll find men and women with a pretty strong independent streak,” Brown said. “And if there’s one place where we need to see that independent spirit in action, it is the United States Senate.”

His use of “we” throughout the speech was one of many ways in which Brown tried to make clear that he is now a New Hampshire man. He moved to New Hampshire four months ago, a fact Democrats say makes him unqualified to represent New Hampshire voters. But he told the crowd about his childhood spent visiting his grandparents here and spoke of all the places he’s visited throughout the state during his listening tour.

Brown also railed against Shaheen’s support of the Affordable Care Act, an issue that is likely to be the central theme of his campaign.

The health care law is taking away people’s freedom to choose what kind of health plans they want, and the freedom of small businesses to run their companies how they choose, Brown said.

Democrats continue to delay pieces of the law so more disastrous consequences won’t be seen until after the election, he said. In his most popular line of the night – one which solicited cheers of “We want Scott!” – Brown pledged to “stop” Obamacare.

“They don’t want you to see the changes until after this year’s election,” he said. “There’s another wave coming, unless we do something to stop it. Let me stop it for you.”

In his 2010 race to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, a large part of Brown’s campaign centered on his opposition to the health law. When he did get to the Senate, he had a record of being one of the most bipartisan senators, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly.

That record is one that could appeal to more than Republican voters, which is another reason why some New Hampshire Republicans are excited about his candidacy. Alan Glassman, chairman of the Belknap County Republican Committee, said the Republican candidate will need to win over at least half of the state’s independent voters to beat Shaheen.

Brown’s primary opponents, not planning to bow out of the fight anytime soon, may use that record against him to gain primary voters on his right. Several people from the militia group the Oathkeepers were protesting outside Brown’s announcement yesterday alongside Democrats. In the primary, he faces Smith, former state senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman.

Still, prominent Republicans say there hasn’t been this kind of consensus and excitement around any Senate candidate in recent memory. The national attention and money around Brown’s candidacy looks more like a reaction to a presidential candidate, former state party chairman Fergus Cullen said.

“Three months ago this was looking like a year that was going well for Republicans but not necessarily in New Hampshire,” Cullen said. “There is tremendous relief among establishment Republicans to have Brown entering the race.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Webster's definition of a 'carpetbagger': new resident who seeks private gain by meddling in it's politics or a political candidate who runs for office in a place where he has lived only a short time. Doesn't say anything about where anyone was born.

Scott Brown was born in NH. Period. Yes, he was born at the closest hospital at PNS, but both his parents lived IN Portsmouth. Not at the base but IN Portsmouth. You can stamp your feet, cry, whine, scream, hold your breath, pout, all manner of Democrat strong points, but that wont change the fact Brown is a NH native...and Shaheen isnt.

Carpetbaggers? What are you talking about? Hassan, Shea-Porter, Hodes, Shaheen are all from other states. The only two folks representing us in Washington from NH are Ayotte and Kuster. The latter might as well be a NY liberal. Also, don't forget Hillary's NY move, Kennedy's in the 60's.

When VT. Republicans were given a choice between a wealthy carpetbagger from NY and an illiterate retired farmer, they chose the farmer. I hope Granite State Republicans learn a lesson from that.

"he had a record of being one of the most bipartisan senators, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly". GUARANTEED- the extreme left that post here will call him extreme right

Is that you wearing a dress, sail?

Mean spirited and really not funny but then again, progressives have no real sense of humor.

Listen, stop repeating me. I am the one said conservatives have no sense of humor, That is why they watch Fox and think it is a "news" channel and O'Reilly is a comedian/

true

It's true Itsy. You are funny

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