Editorial: Just how well does Scott Brown know New Hampshire?

Last modified: 5/16/2013 5:23:41 PM
Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown has been making the political rounds in New Hampshire and playing coy about whether he’s gauging support for a 2014 run against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. If Brown wants to be taken seriously, he’ll have to demonstrate some rock-solid Granite State bona fides.

That Brown is even considering a run just 16 months before the 2014 primary says something about the field of potential Shaheen challengers who are already here. Our guess is that Brown, a talented and telegenic lawyer, will prove too moderate to win a Republican Party primary in New Hampshire – unless he attempts a dramatic Etch-A-Sketch shakeup of his positions.

Carpet-bagging to secure a Senate seat can work. Bobby Kennedy did it in 1964 when he won a seat representing New York, as did Hillary Clinton in 2000. But it can also fall flat, as former New Hampshire senator Bob Smith found. After losing the 2002 Republican Senate primary to John E. Sununu, Smith joined the snowbirds, migrated to Florida and planned a run for the Senate from that state. After polling showed him to have less than 1 percent of the Republican vote, he gave up.

Brown, who spoke at a Grafton County Republican luncheon on Saturday, stressed his ties to the Granite State. He owns a house in Rye. We checked. It’s a two-bedroom Cape Cod style home on a quarter-acre that’s assessed for a bit more than a half-million dollars. So it’s fair to say, as Brown does, that he’s a New Hampshire taxpayer.

On Fox News, where Brown serves as a commentator, Republican strategist Karl Rove made light of the idea that Brown would be rejected as a carpetbagger. “This guy is a ninth-generation New Hampshirian. That’s the dirty little secret. His mother lives there,” Rove said. Indeed she does, but as for Rove’s claim for Brown’s New Hampshire ancestry, we’ll wait for the release of the genealogy. In the meantime, we’ll take Rove’s claim that Brown is practically kin to John Stark seriously if he can answer, without using the internet, these questions about the Live Free or Die state:

1. Name three critters that didn’t previously live in New Hampshire but do now.

2. What Concord park in Sox-loving New Hampshire is named for a New York Yankee great?

3. Which New Hampshire governor wanted to arm the National Guard with nuclear weapons?

4. Who was Metallak, and was he into heavy metal?

5. What did New Hampshire’s only NBA player’s parents do for a living?

6. Which way does a logging horse turn when you yell “gee”?

7. Two New Hampshire politicians became powerful chiefs of staff to presidents and lost their jobs in scandals involving finances. Who were they and what did they do to get, in effect, canned?

8. Who was the Massachusetts carpetbagger who became New Hampshire’s most powerful newspaper publisher?

9. What’s the real mystery of Mystery Hill?

10. Name the entrepreneur who ran a balloon factory and presided for decades over the first vote in every New Hampshire presidential election.

11. What conveyance receives an annual blessing at Enfield’s LaSalette Shrine?

12. What New Hampshire town hosted a prison camp for captured German soldiers during World War II?

13. What does “saving cellar holes” mean?

14. Which routes are known as “Antique Alley” and “Moose Alley?”

15. For one-third of a point each, What’s the other name of poet Donald Hall’s “blue mountain”; who kept the Old Man of the Mountains from falling down a lot sooner; what did Cootie Patterson eat?

(Are you as savvy as Scott Brown, readers? Check the answers in tomorrow’s Monitor.)


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