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.
Brown has drawn bright lines between himself and his Democratic opponent — something Democrats now believe Coakley should have also been doing.
Brown, who defeated businessman Jack E. Robinson to win the GOP nomination, has vowed to be the 41st vote in the Senate against President Barack Obama's health care initiative. He's portrayed Coakley as a big-spending liberal who's naive on foreign policy and soft on the treatment of terrorism suspects.
He has also said that, unlike Coakley, he supports Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.
NAME: Scott Brown
EDUCATION: B.A. from Tufts University, 1981, J.D. from Boston College Law School, 1985
CAREER: Wrentham selectman, 1995-1998; State Rep. 1999-2004; State Senate 2004-present. Serves on Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure; Joint Committee on Education; Joint Committee on Election Laws; Joint Committee on Higher Education; Joint Committee on Public Safety; and Homeland Security Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs. Massachusetts Army National Guard, 1979-present, currently holds rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
FAMILY: Lives in Wrentham with his wife, Gail Huff. The couple has two daughters in college, Ayla and Arianna.