Will Scott Brown run in New Hampshire after all? For months, most Granite State and D.C. Republicans have considered the former lawmaker more interested in attention than an actual Senate campaign. But Brown's deluge of campaign-style visits, accompanied by a raft of stories about his intentions, have convinced many he's now serious about running. Still, he's not in yet, and there are a host of reasons to think he never will be.
-- Despite his visits, Brown hasn't personally courted GOP leaders and conservative activists, an important step for any candidate considering a bid for statewide office (much less in a place where voters expect future presidents to bend hand-on-knee asking for their vote). Many party leaders, in fact, say they don't think Brown even has a formal group of advisers, in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Brown's contemplating a campaign, but he appears to be doing entirely inside his own head.
-- He won't necessarily receive a free pass in a primary. Yes, Republicans are excited that they might finally have found a credible candidate to take on incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, and, yes, the primary field is so far barren of any other top-tier contenders. But the Bay State Republican's record begs for sort of conservative challenge all too common in GOP politics: Among other things, he has supported abortion rights, a ban on assault weapons and opposed Paul Ryan's budget and the Bush-era tax cuts. Does Brown, currently earning a comfortable living in the private sector, have the stomach to beat back conservative criticism?
-- And then there's the matter of the general election. New Hampshire is a swing state, especially in a midterm election, but Shaheen is a relatively popular incumbent staring down an overt carpetbagger. Even with Obamacare's struggles, Brown would start as an underdog.
Most agree he can wait until late winter to decide on a campaign. By that time, hopefully he remembers which state he's running in.