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Scott Brown exploring entry into U.S. senate race for New Hampshire

  • Republican Scott Brown stands with his wife, Gail Huff, left, and Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, before taking the stage on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. The announcement came during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Republican Scott Brown stands with his wife, Gail Huff, left, and Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, before taking the stage on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. The announcement came during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Republican Scott Brown is surrounded by members of the media after he announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Republican Scott Brown is surrounded by members of the media after he announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Republican Scott Brown receives a hug from Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, as he is introduced at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Republican Scott Brown receives a hug from Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, as he is introduced at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Republican Scott Brown announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. If Brown runs, he will face Senator Jeanne Shaheen.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

    Republican Scott Brown announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. If Brown runs, he will face Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

  • Republican Scott Brown stands with his wife, Gail Huff, left, and Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, before taking the stage on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. The announcement came during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Republican Scott Brown is surrounded by members of the media after he announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Republican Scott Brown receives a hug from Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, as he is introduced at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, where he announced his plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
  • Republican Scott Brown announced on Friday afternoon, March 14, 2014, that he plans to explore a bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire during the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. If Brown runs, he will face Senator Jeanne Shaheen.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Scott Brown took one step closer to running for the U.S. Senate yesterday by launching an exploratory committee for a bid against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and kicking off a statewide listening tour.

“It won’t surprise you that I’ve been paying special attention to (my wife) Gail, who’s been telling me that if I really want to make a difference, then I should run for United States senator in New Hampshire,” he said. “Honey, you are right, I’m going to stop complaining and get involved again.”

After months of speculation, Brown, 54, made this announcement at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua. Brown represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate from 2010 to 2012, but moved to his family home in Rye last year. Andy Leach, a former leader of the state Republican Party and aide to several U.S. senators, is leading the exploratory effort.

New Hampshire Republicans are calling Brown’s decision to run a game changer in their quest to oust Shaheen. Former U.S. senator Bob Smith, former state senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman are also in the race.

Of the four, Brown is the only candidate who can bring serious cash and national attention to the state. In 2010, he was the first Republican to win a Senate race in Massachusetts since 1972. In a special election, he took over the seat long held by Edward Kennedy, transforming him into something of a Republican icon. In the 2012 election, he raised $28 million.

State Democrats have been attacking Brown for months, and Shaheen has sent several fundraising emails centered on Brown.

“He brings in a star power that we haven’t had to date in this race; the Democrats are clearly concerned about him,” said Jim Merrill, a Republican strategist who worked for Mitt Romney.

Brown played offense against potential claims that he’s a carpetbagger by talking up his New Hampshire roots. He spent much of his childhood here visiting his grandparents and traveling to places such as Portsmouth and Hampton Beach.

“I cherish those memories, and those long and strong ties to this state, and without a doubt, they helped to draw me back here as a full-time resident of New Hampshire,” he said.

He also said he’s spent the past year driving across the state in his pickup truck to campaign for New Hampshire candidates and to talk to voters. Last year, he started a political action committee here and has donated to Republicans in the state.

“I’ve traveled so much in New Hampshire that I’m closing in on an important personal milestone: 300,000 miles on my truck. . . . It’s sure looking good with those license plates that say, ‘Live Free or Die.’ ”

Obamacare also played a central roll in Brown’s speech, and he said discussing health care with voters will be a key piece of his listening tour. The only way to stop Obamacare is to oust the Democrats who voted for it, he said.

“The party that put everything on the line for the takeover of our very good health care system has a lot to answer for,” he said.

Brown said his own childhood experiences helped him believe in the Republican party’s message of opportunity. Each of Brown’s parents was married four times, and he lived in 17 different houses while growing up, he said. His family was once on public assistance. He joined the Republican Party because it stands for an upward path in life, he said.

In previous races, Brown has pitched himself as an independent, a claim his Senate record supports. In 2011, he voted with the Republican Party 54 percent of the time, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly. He said he is a fiscal conservative but social moderate, which could help him here.

“New Hampshire is not the wrong state for Scott Brown to run in, Massachusetts was,” said Pat Griffin, a Republican with Purple Strategies, a communications firm. “This is a guy who appeals to independent voters, he’s plenty conservative . . . (and) this guy is a master of retail politics.”

But not every New Hampshire voter is impressed by this record. Charles Benzing of Nashua said he doesn’t like Brown’s stance on guns. As a state lawmaker, Brown supported an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts and said last year he would support a federal one, too. Plus, Brown might not make the strongest case for Republicans, Benzing said.

“His (U.S. Senate) race with Elizabeth Warren, he didn’t seem to fight very hard. You know, I’m looking for the Republican Party to start fighting and really pushing back,” he said.

But when asked whether he thought Brown was the most likely candidate to beat Shaheen, Benzing asked, “Who are the rest?”

For Smith, one of Brown’s primary challengers, the media and party attention on Brown has been frustrating. Smith represented New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate from 1990 to 2002. He doesn’t think Brown will get past him easily.

“You’re in for a fight, boy, bring it on,” Smith said. “I thought that he was closer to Shaheen on issues than he is to me.”

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

Related

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte drummed up state Republicans’ energy yesterday by denouncing President Obama’s domestic and foreign policies, criticizing U.S. Senate Democrats and taking a jab at a potential Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy. “How many of you would like to see the Republican Party become the governing party not only here in New Hampshire but across the nation?” she asked … 1

It is my belief that NH republicans distance themselves from Scott Brown at their own peril. He did a magnificent job in MA pulling out a win while garnering support from both sides of the isle. He could do the same here in NH. He is the only Republican in my opinion who has a hope of beating Shaheen. If we still have Shaheen after the next election it won't be because of what Democrats do it'll be because of what Republicans do. And my predictions for 2014 were spot-on when compared to what some of the usual suspects predicted . . .

But he looks so centerfold like, with his glasses hooked on the neck of his cashmere sweater. Looks just like a regular New Hampshire person.

So now we are voting on wardrobe, glasses and quality of one's sweater?

Actually, Tillie, itsa has a valid point. Did you know that NH recently passed CT as the richest state? That's because many, many corporate fat cats have moved to or purchased property here. I bet they wear lots of cashmere sweaters in the winter time.

NH is quite capable of handling our own politics with the likes of Scott Brown.

No thanks

Shaheen will vote against her party, lol WHEN ? She has voted with her party 99% of the time, she doesn't care what's good for NH she only cares about her party. She is everything that's wrong with Washington, not that Scott Brown is the best choice but I would dam sure pick over Shaheen.

And how do you think Ayotte votes? Shaheen has always been for NH. Why would we even have parties if politicians didn't vote for the beliefs of the party they belong to? I vote for Democrats because on the whole they share my beliefs as I am sure you vote for Republicans. I wish Brown was running for Ayotte's seat because he is a Mass. moderate and closer to my views than Ayotte is.

I dont know if Brown can win...but what I do know is the democratic party will spend a lot of money to make sure they do...money they probably didnt plan on spending...and money they wont be able to spend elsewhere. And probably the real reason Shaheen wants to keep the spending low.

You are right. Traveling to and enjoying our state does not qualify Scott Brown to represent us in the United States Senate, a majority of lawfully registered citizens voting on November 4 does. Of course, his duty would not be merely to represent the State of New Hampshire, but fundamentally the Constitution for the United States to which, vis-a-vis Jeanne Shaheen, he has somewhat more demonstrable sympathy. Sen. Bob Smith, though, possesses a starkly stronger claim to both represent our Constitution and our State's best interests, and for which he should be Shaheen's replacement. [Just between us, Jeanne, if you like your Senate seat, you can keep your Senate seat!]

I thought we were supposed to elect people who represent us. Scott Brown's agenda is all about national power and national issues. New Hampshire needs one of our own. Shaheen is not perfect, does not claim to be. She can and does work with political opponents to get things done, especially things good for New Hampshire. She is not afraid to go against her party and supporters when she believes it is right to do so. Scott Brown is a creation of Wall Street money. Traveling to and enjoying our state does not qualify him to speak for us.

compare some facts on govtrack on actual voting records...think about it for a while...then get back to us.

too much to bear I guess...

name the vote where she did not toe the party line

Run SCOTT Run. America wont survive 6 more years of Shaheen the say nothing, do nothing, answer no questions, no principles, take no positions, hand shaking, baby kissing professional politician. Her guaranteed follow the lemmings voting record is simply what is wrong with America today. Remember Shaheen is single handily responsible for killing the health Insurance market in NH way back when she was Governor. Her guaranteed leftist vote is responsible for the senate gridlock caused by democrats. Scott is a principled man that you get what you see...... a sincere man that loves the USA and votes that way....unlike Shaheen.

Regrettably, unlike Sen. Bob Smith, Scott Brown will only provide continued support to the entrenched culture of infant slaughter that continues to reign death on this generation of Americans and the greatest single source of state-supported violence against women, to those yet unborn.

Let's see the on SB711 that you rant about did what? For starts -"A law that did pass, and then immediately drove insurers out of New Hampshire was Senate Bill 711, which became law in 1994. It introduced “community rating” to the state’s health insurance market. It forbade insurers in the small-group market (businesses with fewer than 100 employees) from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and certain demographic factors. And they were allowed to charge the old only three times what they charged the young. That law drove 21 insurers out of the state. New Hampshire went from having 26 health insurers in 1994 to only five just eight years later. A study by the Rhode Island legislature, conducted 12 years after SB 711 passed, concluded that the bill was what drove those insurers out of state, and that it also raised the cost of insurance for younger, healthier residents while lowering it for older and sicker ones." ------------- Even today the pre-existing condition part of the ACA is embraced by all. Insurers would rather leave NH than change how they profited from the citizens of NH. Yup all the earmarks of an evil liberal.

Thanks for proving my point

Proving your point by pointing out that insurers left the state rather than lose the ability to gouge for pre-existing conditions and penalize the older residents. Sounds like we need more people to stand up to profit gouging like Shaheen. Your point was that she stood up for NH citizens?? That is what you call evil, you are sure twisted

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