POLITICS: PennAve

Scott Brown poised to explore New Hampshire Senate run

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Politics,Senate,New Hampshire,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is expected to announce on Friday that he will explore a bid for Senate in New Hampshire.

Brown will make the announcement in afternoon remarks from Nashua, N.H., after months of speculation about his political future. He recently moved to the Granite State from the Boston area.

He has set an April deadline for a final decision, one well-placed confidante said, and will over the next few weeks embark on a listening tour across New Hampshire to take the temperature of potential voters.

“Brown has definitely picked up the pace over the last few days,” said a New Hampshire Republican strategist. “He and his people have been aggressively reaching out to potential GOP campaign staffers to put together a team.”

During the past few weeks, Brown has also accelerated his outreach to Republican lawmakers, influencers and activists in New Hampshire — a serious sign of his intention to explore a bid for Senate.

Brown will flesh out his plans Friday in remarks to the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference, a confab that draws state GOP officials from across the region, features potential Republican presidential candidates, and will also be well-attended by New Hampshire Republican lawmakers and strategists.

For some New Hampshire Republicans, Brown's firm step toward a Senate bid comes not a moment too soon. The state party has been in limbo as he mulled whether to run for office again, less than two years after a bruising defeat to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in one of the high-profile races of the 2012 election cycle.

Frustration and confusion have grown in recent weeks in particular, as local and national media reported on Brown's negotiations for a new contract as a Fox News contributor, and as Brown made plans to travel in April to Iowa -- the first state to vote in presidential primaries.

Should he decide in the next few weeks to run for Senate, Brown will face a major gap in polling against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic incumbent. Recent surveys have shown Shaheen leading Brown by low double-digits.

Brown will also need to decide what kind of race to run in New Hampshire. He was catapulted to the Senate in a 2010 special election in part by the Tea Party wave of that year, and Brown was able to campaign as a conservative icon. New Hampshire, an independent-minded state, might be less fertile ground for such a campaign and drive Brown to run with a more moderate message.

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