New Hampshire Campaign Begins Without Scott Brown

PHOTO: Scott BrownAlex Brandon/AP Photo
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., speaks during a media availability, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 13, 2012.

Scott Brown hasn't announced whether he will run for U.S. Senate from New Hampshire yet, but the race has already started.

He is closing on his home in Wrentham, Mass., and heading to live in New Hampshire and even tweeting his position against the congressional budget compromise, but the former Massachusetts senator hasn't made an official announcement about his future. That isn't stopping an outside group from trying to convince him to run and attacking his potential opponent, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

The group Ending Spending Inc. is backed financially by billionaire Joe Ricketts and they have made a "low six figure buy" on a television ad running on ABC affiliate WMUR and cable in the state, as well as online ads trying to draft Brown to run in the Granite State.

In the 30 second television ad, Shaheen is seen speaking on the Senate floor talking about Obamacare saying, "You can keep your insurance if you like it, it will increase choices for families, it will promote competition." After listing problems with the Affordable Care Act, the commercial ends with the line, "Next November if you like your senator then you can keep her. If you don't, you know what to do."

The ad also points out that President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" was rated "Lie of the Year" by Politifact.

"Sen. Shaheen is vulnerable in 2014 precisely because she was the deciding vote for Obamacare and because she kept repeating the 'lie of the year,'" Ending Spending Inc.'s president Brian Baker said.

Ending Spending Inc. says they believe this is the first time the Politifact rating has been used in a 2014 ad and say this is "absolutely" the first ad campaign with plans to run similar ads in other states which would likely include North Carolina, Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

The group says they decided to launch the ads this week to coincide with Brown keynoting the New Hampshire GOP's holiday party Thursday, as well as Politifact's rating last week.

Shaheen's campaign has been fundraising off of Brown's will-he won't-he moves and both Monday and Tuesday sent out fundraising e mails trying to counter Ending Spending's ads.

"They're after Jeanne because she's the only Democrat elected to the Senate from New Hampshire in 30 years. She can't win without the resources to defend her record. We won't have them without you," one of the e mail reads. "Brown is so desperate to get back somewhere, but it's not New Hampshire. It's Washington."

The New Hampshire Democratic Party also responded to the ad with the party chair Ray Buckley releasing a statement saying, "The attack ads from Scott Brown's Wall Street cronies are just the latest in their shameless campaign to get him to run for the Senate, not from his home state of Massachusetts, but from our state of New Hampshire."

The Democratic National Committee is helping Shaheen, posting an online ad on Craig'slist for Brown as a "Politician for Hire. (Boston. Or Manchester. Or Des Moines.)"

The post says that Brown is "willing to relocate to multiple states."

Jamie Burnett, a GOP consultant in the state, says he doesn't think the early activity is unusual because "one party is hopeful, one party is fearful," explaining that New Hampshire Republicans hope Brown gets in while he believes Democrats are fearful he will.

"I don't know if Scott Brown will announce a run for Senate. All I know is he's moving here and he is open to it," Burnett said. "I do know New Hampshire Republicans are more and more hopeful he does get in and he will be a formidable challenger to Jeanne Shaheen…all of this is natural to see it play out."

Chris Galdieri, assistant professor of politics at New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, said it is unusual for " someone being the senator in another state and then moving and running for a seat here when he really doesn't have strong ties to the state to begin with."

He then joked, "It's supposed to be two senators per state not two states per senator."