Our opinion: Carpetbagger?


On March 14, Scott Brown announced he had moved to New Hampshire and was establishing an "exploratory committee" to determine whether he should run for the Republican nomination to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

According to an American Research poll released Monday, Shaheen leads Brown by 12 points. And a Suffolk University poll released last week gave Shaheen a 13 point lead, with 9 percent undecided. Before the former senator from Massachusetts can face off against Shaheen in November, he must first defeat three other Republicans in September: former U.S. senator Bob Smith, former state senator Jim Rubens, and conservative activist Karen Testerman.

"This is really something," Smith told the New Hampshire Union Leader. "To have a Massachusetts liberal being promoted, actually being pushed, by the powers in Washington and the establishment here in New Hampshire to run against three people who have been on the ground here for decades is really pretty bizarre."

Brown, 54, reminded Republicans during his announcement that his parents lived in Portsmouth, where he was born, and that he spent summers with his grandparents in Rye, where he now lives in his former summer home.

You can bet that despite his ties to New Hampshire, all of his opponents will be rolling out carpetbagger attacks against him soon. Shortly after Brown's announcement, the New Hampshire Democratic Party quickly released a video of clips of his past campaigns boasting that he was a "Massachusetts Republican" who had grown up in the state and planned to remain there.

In 2010, Brown defeated Martha Coakley, former Attorney General of Massachusetts, in the runoff to replace Teddie Kennedy, who died with two years left on his term in the Senate. But two years later, he was ousted by Elizabeth Warren, who waged a populist campaign that heartened progressives around the country.

Brown has been quick to jump on the anti-Affordable Care Act bandwagon that big-money donors such as the Koch Brothers hope will be the undoing of the Democrat majority in the Senate.

"A big political wave is about to break in America and the ObamaCare Democrats are on the wrong side of that wave," Brown said.

Meanwhile, multi-million advertising campaigns are being waged against ACA by the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity and Karl Rove's American Crossroads, which announced it was dumping $600,000 worth of attack ads against Shaheen starting today. And since August, groups backed by the Koch brothers have spent $30 million attacking the Affordable Care Act.

"ObamaCare is argument No. 1, 2 and 3. The question is, do you need argument four and argument five?" Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman, told The Hill.

All that money is making its mark, noted Alexandra Jaffe for The Hill.

"Democrats face an increasingly difficult national political climate, and Republicans need to pick up just six seats to take back the majority. They're favored in three red states where Democrats are retiring and have favorable conditions and strong candidates lined up in at least three of four other states that are held by Democrats but won by Mitt Romney last cycle."

"Three months ago, no one thought that Colorado, Virginia or New Hampshire would be in play, and they are now. Our prospects in some states are improving," said Jonathan Collegio, spokesman for American Crossroads. "Had you asked me six months ago whether Republicans could take the Senate, I would've said I wasn't sure if there were enough states on the table. Now there are more than enough."

But Democrats aren't exactly hurting for cash. In 2013, they raised more than $52 million. Jaffe noted the Bannock Street project has committed to spending $60 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 10 competitive states to help boost turnout to presidential election-year levels.

If Democrats can get people to the polls, it might be enough to overcome the negative ads being run by the Republicans' deep-pocketed overlords.

While Brown and the Republicans are trying to make the November elections about the Affordable Care Act, it would be good to remind people that if they take the Senate they will be in an even better position to continue their war on the rights of women.

Right now, New Hampshire's delegation in Washington is entirely female, and though we have issues with Tea Party darling Sen. Kelly Ayotte, we'd rather have her in D.C. than many of the other misogynists who seem to enjoy espousing their Neanderthal vision of a woman's place in the world. And though Brown would seem to be a little more reasonable than others in his party, we would be remiss if we did not remind Granite Staters of his record in Massachusetts.

In November 2010, Brown voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. By supporting a GOP budget proposal in 2011, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood and other critical services for women (fortunately, that budget proposal failed 56 to 44). Brown co-sponsored the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers to deny health care coverage for any moral or religious objection. He also voted against an amendment that would have allowed privately funded abortions on military bases.

"In addition, Brown co-sponsored the Women's Right to Know Act, which would require women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the development of their fetus," stated the Boston Globe in 2012. "Brown also occasionally sided with antiabortion activists when he was in the state Legislature. In 2005, he sought to allow doctors and nurses to opt out of offering emergency contraception to rape victims if the health care workers had religious objections. Brown later voted for the bill without his changes, meaning doctors and nurses would be required to offer emergency contraception, regardless of their beliefs."

We would urge the good citizens of New Hampshire to think twice about replacing a woman who has lived in New Hampshire for 40 years with a man whose main commitment seems to only be to his own political career. Shaheen has shown a long-term commitment to the Granite State and served effectively as its governor for six years and as a state senator for two terms before that.

Don't be swayed by the attack ads and the slick, charisma of the carpetbagger from across the border.


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