After Passing On Senate Race, Charlie Bass Encouraged Scott Brown To Run

OLD CUTLINE: Massachusetts Senator-elect, Republican Scott Brown greets supporters after speaking at his victory celebration on 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
Josh Kraushaar
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Josh Kraushaar
Nov. 4, 2013, 7:45 a.m.

After de­cid­ing not to run for the Sen­ate, former New Hamp­shire GOP Rep. Charles Bass called former Mas­sachu­setts Sen. Scott Brown to en­cour­age him to run in­stead.

“I am not en­dors­ing any oth­er can­did­ate at this point, but Scott Brown is the kind of can­did­ate who brings an ele­ment of di­versity to a party that’s been ba­sic­ally ob­struc­tion­ist,” Bass said in a phone in­ter­view with Na­tion­al Journ­al. “I think Scott Brown has shown he could win based on be­ing a good in­de­pend­ent voice that has Amer­ica’s best in­terest at heart.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bass, Brown didn’t make a de­cision on the phone.

“He didn’t make any com­mit­ment one way or an­oth­er. I told him this was not go­ing to be a chal­lenge I was tak­ing on, and urged him to give the op­por­tun­ity ser­i­ous con­sid­er­a­tion,” Bass said.

When Brown was asked about his in­terest Sunday dur­ing a “Fox News Sunday” ap­pear­ance, he said: “With re­gard to my polit­ic­al fu­ture, listen, there’s a role for me. This isn’t about me, it’s about … let­ting people know who we are as a party and how we can move for­ward with a pos­it­ive mes­sage to con­vince people how to vote for us.” 

Bass said that he be­lieved that Demo­crat­ic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, whose pop­ular­ity across the state is still high, could be beaten by the “right can­did­ate at the time” — es­pe­cially if an anti-Demo­crat­ic wave emerged in the wake of the dis­astrous Obama­care rol­lout. He said he de­cided not to run be­cause he wanted to pur­sue oth­er op­por­tun­it­ies in the private sec­tor. Bass ad­ded he thought Re­pub­lic­ans would be bet­ter off with a can­did­ate with a fresh­er pro­file — one without the bag­gage ac­crued from run­ning 32 cam­paigns in the state throughout his ca­reer.

But he ac­know­ledged the bench of pro­spect­ive Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate can­did­ates in New Hamp­shire was thin, if Brown de­cided not to run. He noted Manchester may­or Ted Gat­sas, who is up for re-elec­tion Tues­day, as a pos­sible con­tender. “Jeanne Shaheen can be beaten by the right can­did­ate at the right time,” Bass said. “I’m not sure I’m the right can­did­ate. A good can­did­ate step­ping up to ad­dress her po­s­i­tions on is­sues could have a very ef­fect­ive mes­sage.”

Shaheen was one of the first Sen­ate Demo­crats to dis­tance her­self from the rocky im­ple­ment­a­tion of the pres­id­ent’s health care law, call­ing for an ex­ten­sion of the Obama­care en­roll­ment peri­od. Shaheen won elec­tion in 2008 with 52 per­cent of the vote.

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