MANCHESTER — Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown is suiting up his campaign armor again — faded blue jeans, cowboy boots and a storied pickup truck — this time in New Hampshire as he tries to make modern history and help the GOP reclaim the Senate.
But a week after Brown joined New Hampshire’s Senate race, it’s unclear if the every-man appeal that fueled his rise in Massachusetts is enough to revive his political career north of the state line. There are early signs that the state’s famously feisty voters may be reluctant to embrace the recent Republican transplant.
“New Hampshire people want New Hampshire people,” said Kim Pratt, a 52-year-old self-described independent voter, sitting at the Red Arrow Diner’s breakfast counter as Brown shook hands nearby during a weekend visit. “He’s not really a New Hampshire person. He’s a politician from Massachusetts.”
Outside after a breakfast of corned beef hash and eggs, Brown acknowledged the challenge.
“Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state,” he told The Associated Press. “People know.”
Brown spent the first year and a half of his life living in New Hampshire before his family moved to Massachusetts.
His residency already plays prominently in his quest to defeat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen this fall. The stakes are high in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., where Republicans are competing to gain six seats they need to win the Senate majority and transform the last two years of President Barack Obama’s presidency.
Shaheen had been expected to cruise to re-election until Brown stepped into the race this month, giving the GOP a high-profile challenger with national fundraising appeal and a moderate political philosophy expected to play well among local voters.