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Scott Brown decides on New Hampshire Senate run announces exploratory committee

Former Republican Senator Scott Brown speaks to the press after announcing that he has set up an exploratory committee for a potential Senate run from New Hampshire at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, March 14, 2014
Former Republican Senator Scott Brown speaks to the press after announcing that he has set up an exploratory committee for a potential Senate run from New Hampshire at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, March 14, 2014Reuters/Gretchen Ertl

After months of speculation former Republican senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown has decided to run for the Senate from New Hampshire, where he will try to unseat one-term Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. At the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H. on Friday, March 14, 2014 Brown, 54 announced that he is setting up an exploratory committee for a Senate run and where he declared; "I'm going to stop complaining and get involved again."

Since Brown's 2013 visits to Iowa and its State fair in the August and move from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, and his coyness prompted many political analysts to hypothesize as to his future political plans. There were two possibilities the former senator might be considering either a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 or another run for the Senate this time in New Hampshire, where Brown had family ties and a vacation home. Up until this past week however, it did not seem clear which option Brown was intending to seek, he was even scheduled to make a visit to Iowa next month, which has now been cancelled.

Brown made the formal announcement about his exploratory committee during an 18-minute speech on the first day of the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and possible 2016 presidential campaign hopeful also addressed the conference.

Responding to his wife journalist Gail Huff's prodding to run for the Senate in New Hampshire, Brown declared; "Honey, you are right, I'm going to stop complaining and get involved again. So I am announcing that I have formed an exploratory committee to prepare a campaign for the U.S. Senate." With the establishment of the committee Brown can start raising money for his run and hire a staff, which he is in the process of doing, he also released his first campaign video.

The former senator and future candidate made it clear he was again picking up the Republican Party's mantle being opposed to President Barack Obama signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans commonly call Obamacare. Additionally, that Shaheen voted for the health care law can be considered a weak point for the Democratic senator.

Shaheen is now sitting ahead any proposed Republican candidate, and a recent Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll had her 13 points above Brown, 52 to 39 percent however, his official presence will probably change that soon. Brown though did top the list of Republican candidates leading them by a wide margin with 33 percent "support."

Brown recounted the changing landscape for Democrats as opposed to the start of the Obama presidency; "It wasn't so long ago that the Democratic establishment in Washington was feeling very comfortable, like they just couldn't lose." However, in a turn of events Brown promised Republicans "If we do things right this year, we will bring a defining victory to our cause."

The New Hampshire Senate hopeful then proceeded to criticize the health care law; "You could tell they were comfortable because they kept forcing Obamacare upon us. It didn't much care how Americans or each and every one of you in this room felt about it. Election Day is about eight months away, and they're already in panic mode. A big political wave is about to break in America, and the Obamacare Democrats are on the wrong side of that wave."

Then bringing a local concern to the issue Brown discussed the situation in New Hampshire and the dissatisfaction with the law in the state, stating; "Tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire have lost the health coverage they liked. Thousands more are paying higher premiums for coverage they don't like. The whole thing is such a fiasco that the administration keeps changing the law, without even bothering to ask Congress or ask you." Brown referred to the loss of health insurance because they no longer fit the minimum requirements during the health care law's disastrous rollout in October 2013, and the Obama Administrations constant announcement changing the rules.

In his first call not to reelect Shaheen, Brown stating with without naming his opponent by name; "There's only one way to get rid of Obamacare once and for all, and that is to get rid of the Obamacare Democrats who rammed it through Congress and forced it upon the American people."

Brown warned the Democrats; "The Democratic leadership likes to say that Obamacare is the law because elections have consequences. But false promises have consequences, too. And the party that put everything on the line for that takeover of health care is going to have a lot to answer for."

Brown is trying to emphasize family roots in New Hampshire, because he facing accusations of being a carpet bagger, stressing the "long and strong family ties to this great state." Brown's parents met in the state, and he was born in Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard, when his father was in the military.

Having lived his life and spent his political career in Massachusetts, Brown just made the move last year to live permanently in his New Hampshire vacation home in Rye, and selling his own home in Wrentham, Mass. Brown recounted that "So much of my life played out in Massachusetts and I'm very proud and thankful for those opportunities, but a big part of it was always right here in New Hampshire."

The former senator did not forget his famous GMC Canyon truck that faithfully transported him in his victorious 2010 campaign. Brown stated the truck now has 300,000 miles and boasts a "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire license plate.

Part of what propelled Brown to a Senate seat from Massachusetts was his position as a moderate Republican, it was also part of his down fall when running for reelection in 2012. Brown promised to continued to be a moderate should he win and represent New Hampshire, expressing; "I'm a proud Republican, but I've always been able to work with every person of good will, whatever their party, and we sure need more of that spirit in Washington right now, if we're going to rise to the big and fundamental challenges facing this nation."

With that same philosophy in mind Brown lamented and called for a unified Republican Party more inclusive of moderate positions; "And though we never have been perfect as a party and we are battling, trying to get our vision and feelings out, we're still Republicans. I'm tired of our party fighting, we need to unite to send a very powerful message to the rest of this country that we can do it better."

As soon as Brown made his announcement the Senate Democrats' campaign committee was ready to criticize the new opponent calling him a pawn of the "big banks that fund his campaigns."' Continuing Regan Page the deputy press secretary for the Senate Democrats stated; "If Scott Brown ever returns to the Senate, he'd go back to doing their bidding." Using the carpet bagger offense Page concluded; "If this exploratory committee is anything more than another publicity stunt, he'll have a tough time convincing New Hampshire voters that he cares about anyone other than himself."

State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley echoed those sentiments saying; "Scott Brown appears to be ready to be rejected by voters in two states, because the people of New Hampshire don't want a senator who represents big oil and Wall Street."

Fox News, where Brown has been a commentator since 2013 was the first to tip off the press, announcing on Friday morning, March 14 that Brown's contract was terminated. On Twitter Brown thanked Fox News, writing; "I am extremely grateful to everyone at Fox for their friendship."

During Brown's last appearance on Fox as a commentator on Thursday, March 13 he alluded to his plans to Neil Cavuto, saying; "I will make an announcement sooner, rather than later. Obviously, it's a very, very big decision --a very, very big decision for me and my family. And I'm going to make sure that I cross all T's and dot all I's. So it will be sooner, rather than later, and I'll certainly let everyone know."

Brown, a Massachusetts state senator moved to the national stage in 2010 showing he can appeal to a board base as a Republican who broke into a Democratic stronghold state. In a special election Brown managed to wrestle a Senate seat over the Democratic candidate the state's Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown won former Senator Edward Kennedy's seat that he held for 47 years, only four months after Kennedy's death.

Brown's victory at that point was considered a major feat. He aimed for re-election in the 2012 election cycle; in a tough and close race, he lost in the end by 8 percentage points to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. He proved himself a very capable fundraiser in both his campaigns. Brown won with the help of the Tea Party, but ended up being a moderate Republican as senator, which the Tea Party has not yet forgiven him for.

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' Senator John Kerry's seat after he resigned to become the Secretary of State. Then there was speculation he might run in 2014 for senator in New Hampshire, where he has a home and familial ties or governor of Massachusetts, and maybe even president.

Based on the recent polls and the Republican leaning states up for grabs in the upcoming midterm elections, needing only six seats Republican control of the Senate is within reach. With Brown in the race ABC News reported on Thursday March 13, 2014; "The contest would instantly become one of the hottest races in the country and could give Republicans one more path to winning control of the Senate."

The day after his announcement on Saturday, March 15 Brown and his wife embarked on a "Main Streets and Living Rooms" listening tour, while Shaheen and her campaign went on the attack as if Brown completely announced his candidacy and that he was the one to beat in the midterm elections in November. The Republican primary is set for September.

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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.