EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 17, 2010

Republican Brown drives hard for Kennedy's seat

BOSTON (AP) — During last fall's tepid GOP primary, Scott Brown's campaign was overshadowed by a feisty four-way Democratic fight — stoking Republican fears he'd be unable to catch winner Martha Coakley during the general election for the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.

But Brown, whose basketball skills helped him win college admission, has proved as nimble on the campaign trail as the parquet floor.

When Coakley faded from the campaign trail over the holidays, Brown held daily press events, then posted the first television ad of the final election stretch, comparing himself with the late President John F. Kennedy.

Coakley's air of inevitability evaporated.

For Brown, the breathing room let him define himself as a truck-driving everyman, a doting father and the candidate best suited to push back against a Democratic-dominated Senate.

Reinvention is a skill Brown has used throughout his career, seizing opportunities where he found them.

As an undergraduate, he didn't just rely on his athletic skills, but also delved into singing and acting.

He traded on his matinee good looks for work as a model, and while still in law school, he posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine — in a photo spread with a strategically placed crease in the magazine.

Later he enlisted in the National Guard and launched a political career that took him from the Wrentham Board of Selectmen to the Massachusetts House and Senate.

Brown said his dedication to hard work and family grew out of a difficult childhood.

"I didn't come from a lot of money," he said. "My parents are divorced a few times. My mom was on welfare for a period of time. I really came from nothing and worked my way up."

That work ethic has helped Brown come within striking distance of Coakley. He's crisscrossed the state with the stamina of an athlete training for a triathlon, which Brown does between real estate closings and legislative work.

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