Is Scott Brown taking his oily sheen to New Hampshire?
When former Massachusetts Sen. Scott "truck-drivin' regular guy" Brown started visiting New Hampshire last spring, hinting he might challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014, it looked like a desperate effort to reclaim the spotlight he'd lost to Elizabeth Warren. But this was no brief flirtation. Brown has kept it up, visiting the state on the regular, forming a PAC
there, and attacking Shaheen every so often. And he's got national Republicans excited
The chairman and vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rob Portman of Ohio, said they have urged Brown to take on Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is otherwise expected to cruise to reelection next year. [...]
The NRSC’s communications director, Brad Dayspring, said in an e-mail that running Brown against Shaheen “would give New Hampshire voters the choice they desperately seek to hold her accountable.”
Former representative Charles F. Bass, who was one of the last potential GOP threats to Shaheen, said Monday he would not run against her, telling reporters that Brown would be the strongest candidate.
But while Brown's story about himself may work with a Republican establishment that's been wetting itself over him since 2010, his efforts to show he's not a carpetbagger just looking for a Senate seat, any Senate seat, to run for, haven't been the most convincing. Talking about how he owned a vacation home
in New Hampshire didn't exactly boost Brown's regular-guy bonafides, and when he made much of having been born at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, he failed to point out
that this means he was born in Maine, leading some to dub him Boston Bangor Brown
. And for all the national-level enthusiasm, some New Hampshire Republicans say his forays into the state's politics haven't
been well planned:
Brown seems to be lacking a clear strategy in choosing public events and has yet to call opinion leaders, party leaders, or other influential people, [former New Hampshire Republican Party chair Fergus] Cullen said. [...]
“It doesn’t seem like there’s been any rhyme or reason to his engagement in New Hampshire,” said Jim Merrill, a political consultant who served as Mitt Romney’s chief adviser for the state.
The sad thing is, despite all that, Brown probably is
the strongest candidate Republicans can find in New Hampshire. Sad for Republicans, that is.