Scott Brown lost the fire in the belly required to run another campaign for U.S. Senate so close to his bruising loss to Democrat Elizabeth Warren last November.
Brown caught many off guard yesterday when he put an end to all the speculation and officially announced he will not be a candidate in the special election June 25 to succeed Democrat John Kerry who is now Secretary of State.
Brown was a shooting star for the Republican party with his improbable win in another special election over Attorney General Martha Coakley to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy who died of brain cancer in 2009.
But Brown won’t let the GOP wish on his star this time around saying he did not relish a third Senate campaign in four years and a possible return to a Washington, D.C. “even more partisan than the one I left.”
He would have been a shoe-in for the GOP nomination for the special election, but in his statement he said there may be better ways to continue in public service.
Some have observed that he may take a run for governor.
Brown was still healing from his loss to Warren when he attended a Trees For Troops event at Smolak Farms in North Andover a couple of weeks before Christmas. At that time no one knew that Kerry was leaving the Senate and the focus was on whether Brown might run for governor in 2014.
“We’ll see what happens. Anything is possible,” he said at the time. For now, he said he wanted to get “reconnected” with his family.
Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, said one must be a “masochist” to run for office.
“Representing Massachusetts in the United States Senate was the greatest privilege of my life, an experience that takes second place only to my marriage to Gail and the birth of our daughters. It was a higher honor than I had ever expected, and in the time given to me I always tried to make the most of it,” Brown said in his statement yesterday.
Brown apparently knew for a while this would be his decision as state Republican leaders had their statements ready.
MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes said the party still remains “optimistic about the special election...because of the strength, character and accomplishments of the many potential candidates who are today considering their political futures.”
But, the statement did not say who those potential candidates are.
“Members of our party have an unparalleled level of energy and commitment to the Republican cause. This special election will unite us in the shared purpose of again electing a Republican to the United States Senate. We shocked the world in 2010, and united, we can do it again,” Hughes said.
The names of former Gov. William Weld and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey have been cast about as possible Senate contenders and it’s possible that, as Brown did, one of the roughly two dozen Republican members of the Legislature could take a shot at the special election, which would not require them to forfeit their current jobs.
Weld, who recently returned to Massachusetts from New York to join Mintz Levin, a Boston law firm, has said he would consider a run for the Senate if Brown did not seek the seat.
He did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Another possible GOP candiate is Richard Tisei of Wakefield, who lost after a bitter campaign attempting to unseat Congressman John Tierney last year.
Tisei, 50, who spent 26 years in the Massachusetts Legislature, much of it as Senate minority leader, issued a statement late yesterday afternoon saying Brown’s decision “came as a surprise,” but one that will make him “consider the best way I can play in helping to bring new, alternative leadership to Washington.”
For his part, Brown said his election “wasn’t exactly welcome news for President Obama or many other Democrats.” But that “among my best memories from those three years in office are visits to the White House to see the President sign into law bills that he had sponsored.
“I left office last month on the best of terms with colleagues both Republican and Democrat. I had worked well with so many of them, regardless of party, to serve the public interest just as we are all supposed to. All of this was in keeping with the pledge I made at the beginning to do my own thinking and to speak for the independent spirit of our great state,” Brown said.
“Over these past few weeks I have given serious thought about the possibility of running again, as events have created another vacancy requiring another special election. I have received a lot of encouragement from friends and supporters to become a candidate, and my competitive instincts were leading in the same direction,” the statement said.
“Even so, I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me,” the statement said.
Gov. Deval Patrick this week appointed his former chief of staff William “Mo” Cowan, to fill the seat on an interim basis until the election in June.
U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are seeking the Democratic nomination.
Lynch, of South Boston issued a statement saying, “I understand Scott Brown’s decision. He has basically been campaigning non-stop for three years. It’s perfectly understandable that he wouldn’t want to undertake another campaign. I wish all the best to Scott and his family.”
Republicans are already taking shots at Markey and Lynch.
“The fact is the Democratic Party will field a mediocre congressman with a highly partisan record who has been part of the Washington gridlock. A Republican Senator from Massachusetts will offer the bipartisan leadership to solve our nation’s problems,” Hughes of the .
The Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for April 30 and the special election for June 25.
Material from the State House News Service was used in this report.