John Fund reports that Scott Brown is moving towards a run for the Senate in New Hampshire. He notes that Brown has sold his home in Massachusetts and is moving across the border to New Hampshire. Later this week, he will headline that state’s annual GOP Christmas party.
Brown had no serious political future in Massachusetts. His loss to the non-formidable Elizabeth Warren demonstrated that.
New Hampshire is another matter. As Fund points out, President Obama won only 52 percent of New Hampshire’s vote in 2012 compared to 61 percent in Massachusetts.
This 9 point difference provides Brown the operating room he needs (he lost to Warren by 7.5 points), assuming he doesn’t lose points in New Hampshire by virtue of being a “carpetbagger.” Fund does not expect that charge to stick, given the strong cultural links between the two states.
Brown has publicly listed a house he owns in Rye, N.H. as his second home for decades and his new state of residence is chock full of former Massachusetts residents who fled the Bay State’s urban headaches and high taxes.
In September of this year, a PPP poll had Brown trailing incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen by 48 percent to 44 percent, within the survey’s margin of error. And that was before the Democrats felt the hit caused by the Obamacare rollout.
Brown is a moderate Republican. If he runs, he will face conservative opposition. Fund says that three conservatives are already in the race: former U.S. senator Bob Smith, former state senator Jim Rubens, and former think-tank director Karen Testerman.
Fund doesn’t see former Senator Smith — now 72 years old and with two unsuccessful bids for a Senate seat in Florida — as a strong contender. Moreover, the presence of three conservatives raises the possibility that Brown will benefit from a split in that vote. But we’ll have to see who else, if anyone, enters the race.
We’ll also want to see what the head-to-head polls show next year. This polling will help New Hampshire conservatives assess the electoral prospects of the conservative alternatives to Scott Brown, a relevant consideration for those who want to see Republicans capture the Senate.