Scott Brown wouldn’t be the first person to serve in the U.S. Senate from more than one state. But Sen. James Shields’ record of three states – Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri – appears safe unless the Republican pays his realtor overtime.
Brown, who swept into Washington in 2010 as a surprise replacement for the recently deceased Democratic lion Ted Kennedy, moved to his coastal New Hampshire vacation home last year and registered to vote there. He’s now poised to challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the Granite State.
Matt Mowers, executive director of the New Hampshire State Republican Committee, shrugged Thursday night and told MailOnline that ‘it’s a rumor right now.’
But two other sources have confirmed that Brown will use his speaking engagement at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H. as a launching pad.
It’s there that he will announce on Friday afternoon that he’s formed an exploratory committee, a necessary step before he can legally hire staffers to massage the media, poll New Hampshire’s voters and craft a strategy for unseating Shaheen in November.
‘It’s going to happen at the Nashua event,’ a political operative close to Brown told MailOnline.
‘You got it right,’ added a state party official, who asked not to be named, inside the hotel where the conference is set to kick off.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported on Thursday that Brown’s political action committee had sent a total of $29,000 to a group of GOP committees. Those checks included $5,000 contributions to the New Hampshire state party, and the Senate and House Republican PACs.
While passing the hat is a time-tested proposition for political players, Brown aims to double down on his unconventional 2010 victory over Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, whom he trailed for most of the special-election campaign season.
In New Hampshire, too, Brown is already behind the eight-ball. A Suffolk University poll released March 6 showed Sen. Shaheen with a 13-point edge, 52 to 39, among likely voters.
But those percentages are soft since Brown’s candidacy was hypothetical, and because they followed on the heels of $360,000 in negative ads run against him in January and February by Democrats and liberal special interests who were spooked by the idea.
Brown’s near-universal name recognition will perk up his numbers once he officially enters the race, Republicans hope, and they expect outside conservatives like Americans for Prosperity to continue advertising heavily against Shaheen for her cozy relationship with the increasingly unpopular President Barack Obama.
For now, he’s banking on a groundswell of support from breathless Republicans buoyed by the possibility of a return to the majority in the U.S. Senate.
The GOP needs to capture six Democrat-held seats this year to wrest control from Majority Leader Harry Reid.