Scott Brown will register to vote in NH when he moves there, but his end game remains unclear
He’s planning to register to vote in the Granite State. He’ll headline a big New Hampshire Republican holiday party on Thursday. And an outside political group is spending significant sums of money across the New Hampshire, encouraging him to run against Democratic US Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
This much is clear: Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is moving north.
But what he’ll do as a New Hampshire resident now that he’s set to sell his Wrentham home remains a political parlor game.
Brown does not have a campaign team nor has he been gathering the activist-by-activist support needed to win a GOP primary in a state where facetime is political currency, according to a number of plugged-in New Hampshire Republicans.
“Honestly, it’s baffling what he’s doing. I don’t know what his end game is. I think if he wants to run for the US Senate he should get in the race,” said Dave Carney, a longtime national Republican strategist and consultant who lives in Hancock, NH.
“New Hampshire voters are not interested in begging candidates to run for office,” he said, noting there were already three other GOP US Senate candidates working to lock up support.
Other Republicans said the state party has expressed interest in a Brown run, but the former senator has not begun to make a hard push.
“I haven’t seen any activity [from] him reaching out to key endorsement people or key donors or anything like that in the state,” said New Hampshire Republican consultant Jamie Burnett.
Over the last year, Brown has been making speeches in the state, formed a political action committee to raise money and has lent his name and time to fundraise for GOP candidates there.
Republicans in the state believe he could overcome the hurdle of having been a US Senator from another state as recently as the beginning of this year. But, they say, he’d need to step up his efforts.
Brown did not respond to calls, an email and a text message seeking comment Tuesday.
But a Republican strategist who has spoken with Brown recently said that while the former Senator would indeed sell his house and move from Wrentham to Rye, making the coastal New Hampshire town his primary residence, he has not yet made a decision whether to run in that state’s US Senate race.
“Right now, this is a one-man show. It’s just Scott playing with the idea of running,” that strategist said.
“He does not want to make a decision on the Senate race right away. He wants to wait as long as he can and see what the polling numbers look like and how the race will play out,” the person said.
Elizabeth M. Yeaton, Rye’s town clerk and tax collector, said Brown is not yet a registered voter in Rye, but informed her directly that he plans to become one.
“He has not given me a date when he plans to do so, but said it would be soon,” she said.
Some New Hampshire political insiders believe, despite a June filing deadline for the primary, Brown needs to make a decision soon, to be a viable candidate.
“I think someone could get in to the Senate race as late as January or February, but not later than that,” said Republican Charlie Arlinghaus, the president of The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market thinktank in New Hampshire.
Brown has defied expectations before, most notably winning an upset 2010 US Senate special election. In 2012, he was unseated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, and is now a paid FOX News contributor and an attorney at the firm of Nixon Peabody LLP.
Andrew I. Glincher, chief executive officer there, told Bloomberg Monday that Brown would continue to practice law in Massachusetts for the time being after moving to New Hampshire.
A FOX News spokeswoman told the Globe if Brown authorizes a exploratory committee to be formed for a run, his on-air agreement would then be terminated.
Shaheen, a former Granite State governor, who was elected to the Senate in 2008, was the target of a television and web advertisements that began airing Tuesday.
Ending Spending, a national organization focused on fiscal issues and that usually backs Republicans, knocked Shaheen in television ads for her support of the Affordable Care Act. And it launched web ads linking to a petition working to draft Brown for the race.
“Our reading of the race is that Senator Brown would be a great senator for the state of New Hampshire,” said Brian Baker, the group’s president. Together, the ads on TV and online were backed by more than $100,000 in spending, he said.
Democrats, who are bullish on Shaheen’s chances in a state that knows her well, knocked back against Brown Tuesday.
“If Scott Brown decides to run he’ll have a lot more to explain than his out of state license plates. He epitomizes the revolving door of politics,” Harrell Kirstein, a New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman, said in a statement. “The people who know him best learned quickly that Scott Brown’s only priority is Scott Brown, and if he runs for Senate or President, New Hampshire voters will rapidly reach the same conclusion.”Joshua Miller can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.