Scott Brown, the former Republican Senator from Massachusetts is stepping into the presidential campaign waters, announcing from Iowa's State Fair on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18, 2013 that he is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination. The former senator believes there is room for a candidate interested in bipartisanship, who believes the party has room for all its members. Brown has been making the rounds in the media, and his rhetoric indicates he is seriously intending a possible presidential run.
This week Brown is touring three Midwestern states with his family, announcing his tour to Iowa, and North and South Dakota innocently on Twitter last Friday, writing; "Heading to SD, ND and IA for some family, fun and meetings. Looking forward to seeing Sen. Thune and family." Brown has set up meetings with politicians from the Midwestern states he is visiting.
He visited the Iowa State Fair on Sunday to gauge possible support, and speak with a few of the locals. The former Senator toured the fair with wife journalist Gail Huff, who hails from Iowa, partaking in the variety of food and activities the fair, has to offer. However, just appearing at the 11-day state fair is cause for speculation; it's the place to be for any prospective presidential candidate.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.
What set Brown apart was his visit to the Republican Party's booth, and conducting interviews with the local press. Brown stated to Boston Globe that he was not having much problems getting noticed even in the Midwestern states though he spent most of his public life in Massachusetts. He said; "It's been kind of interesting to walk into a gas station in Mitchell, S.D., and 'Are you Scott Brown?' or into the hotel last night in Fergus Falls [Minn.], and 'Are you Scott Brown?; And I'm like 'How do you know me?' and they say, 'I see you on Fox all the time.' There's certainly an appreciation here for the straightforward way I do my job and set out facts."
Brown gave an interview with the Boston Herald telling them that he is exploring if he can gain support for a run. Brown speaking from Iowa, said; "I want to get an indication of whether there's even an interest, in Massachusetts and throughout the country, if there's room for a bipartisan problem solver. It's 2013, I think it's premature, but I am curious. There's a lot of good name recognition in the Dakotas and here - that's pretty good."
Speaking to the DesMoines Register, Brown stated that his visit to Iowa and consideration in running is exploratory. He said; "I want to understand the challenges and the opportunities and the aspirations of the people in the Midwest and how they view us and vice versa." Continuing he discussed his political ideology; "I want to see if there's interest in my brand of politics, being a strong national security hawk and a fiscal conservative."At the fair he touted to the press his "national security credentials of 34 years in military."
In his interview with the Iowa paper he also discussed his position on social issues that is often considered more liberal; "When it comes to the social issues. I find great people on both sides of the issue. I want to keep an open mind and find a balanced way to solve the issues."
Brown is taking a different approach than the other potential Republican candidates. He believes the party needs a candidate interested in bipartisanship that believes in an inclusive Republican party. Brown is selling himself as a "truly a bipartisan problem solver," explaining; "Our country is not a divisive one. Many people want that middle of the road, that tolerance to put our country first. Because we are Americans first, not members of a party."
The former senator laid out his vision in a speech he gave for the Republican National Committee in Fenway Park on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 as part of their summer meeting. Brown supports a "big-tent" approach for the Republican Party declaring "I'm all around, trying to speak and bring that message that there's room for me, there's room for Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul, there's room for all of us." A sharp contrast to the feud New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently had with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul over Libertarianism.
Brown reiterated his position in an interview with WHO TV, a CNN affiliate in Iowa saying; "You have the Rand Pauls, the Sarah Palins. You have people like me and Chris Christie and others. There should be room for all of us. We shouldn't be vilified or demonized when we are trying to present our positions." In his interview with the DesMoines Register Brown added "we're always attacking each other for not fitting some ideologically pure mold."
The Iowa caucuses are the first major contest on the primary campaign season; they define and shape the presidential race going forward. The unfavorable results throw a campaign off balance and if a candidate does not withdraw immediately they usually do within a week or before the next primary. While a first or second place finish can catapult a candidate to front runner status and give momentum in the race, regardless of their previous positions in the polls.
Brown would have to enter a race that is crowded early in the game. Still the party needs a candidate that would appeal to a broad base. Brown has proven he has that appeal, having been a Republican who broke through a state, Massachusetts that is a Democratic stronghold, when he managed to wrestle a Senate seat in 2010.
Brown won former Edward Kennedy's seat that he held for 47 years, in a special election held four months after Kennedy's death. His victory at that point was considered a major feat. He aimed for re-election last fall in the 2012 election cycle, losing to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in a tough and close race. He proved himself a very capable fundraiser in both his campaigns.
In his interview with WHO TV Brown explained the challenges of being a Republican from the Northeast; "It's an uphill battle certainly in the Northeast to be a Republican. But I'm a pragmatic, common sense, problem solving Republican. Very similar to the people not only in Iowa but in New Hampshire and many parts of the country,"
Since then there has been a lot of speculation as to his next move. He joined Fox News as a commentator to gain nationwide recognition, declined a special election bid for Massachusetts's Senator John Kerry's seat after he resigned to become the Secretary of State. But there are speculation he might run in 2014 for senator in New Hampshire, where he has a home and familial ties or governor of Massachusetts, and now maybe president.
When he spoke to the Boston Herald earlier in the month he left his options open, declaring; "I have a plan and I'm executing that plan and whether it's the governor or something else, you know, we'll soon find out."
Brown's biggest competition for the nomination may be from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, seen as front runner now in the polls. Christie is leading in all the pre-primary polls of Republican candidates, and is the "hottest politician" in the country at the moment according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
A recent WMUR-TV poll of the potential Republican candidates conducted by University of New Hampshire Survey Center had Christie leading with 21 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is in second place with 16 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan with 8 percent, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at fifth place with 6 percent. Texas Governor Rick Perry is also considering a run, but was not included in the poll.
Still Christie has a lot against him going into the race, which the Boston Herald pointed out, stating; "Brown hasn't turned off Republicans by shouting, swearing or hugging Obama. So he has that going for him."
It's still early in the presidential campaign game for 2016, and although Scott Brown is stating he is only exploring and he has been mentioned for other public offices, his recent comments indicate that a run for the presidency is what is truly in his heart's desire. From his vision and past record, he could prove very well to be a formidable opponent with a good shot at the Republican nomination.