Gas Up the Pickup Truck?

BOSTON - JANUARY 19: U.S. Senator-elect, Republican Scott Brown displays a special edition of the Boston Herald after winning the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat January 19, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the seat of late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy
National Journal
Alex Roarty
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Alex Roarty
Dec. 6, 2013, 6:40 a.m.

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.

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