EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 3, 2013

Scott Brown visits Londonderry

Speculation continues on his potential challenge for Shaheen's seat

By Alex Lippa

---- — LONDONDERRY — Scott Brown’s tour around New Hampshire will include a stop in Londonderry tomorrow.

The former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts will visit Harold Square restaurant on Rockingham Road tomorrow. Over the last several months, the Republican has made appearances around the state, including in Salem and Hampstead.

The visit was set up by the Londonderry Republican Committee.

“The Republican Committee wanted to hold a meet-and-greet for Republicans and independents and we thought it would be nice to bring someone here who has experience in Washington,” said Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry. “We knew Scott Brown had been to places around Rockingham County, so we figured we would ask him and he said he would love to.”

Brown’s New Hampshire visits have prompted lots of speculation about whether he will challenge U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Brown has owned a home in Rye for some years and recently put his home in Massachusetts up for sale. Last week, he changed his Twitter handle from @ScottBrownMA to @SenScottBrown, fueling speculation he is cutting his Bay State ties and identifying himself with the Granite State. On Dec. 19, he will headline the New Hampshire Republican State Committee’s holiday luncheon in Concord.

Yesterday, GOP Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn wouldn’t speculate on Brown’s political plans.

“We’re just very grateful he has offered to raise funds for the party,” Horn said. “Candidates have to speak for themselves. Clearly, he has spent a lot of time in the state and the feedback that I’ve gotten has been positive.”

Brown donated $10,000 to the committee in October.

Those planning to attend the event tomorrow are divided on Brown’s political plans.

“I’d be surprised if he did,” Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said. “Now that (former U.S. Sen.) Bob Smith has stepped in, I would be surprised if he did, too.”

Baldasaro said it was too early for him to decide whether he would endorse Brown should he challenge Shaheen.

Carson said she had no idea of Brown’s intentions.

“He’s been playing it very close to the vest,” she said. “When he’s ready to decide, I’m sure we will soon find out.”

Salem Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride Jr. said he hopes Brown will run.

“We need a fresh face, the old standard guards can go home,” McBride said. “He owns a home in New Hampshire and he knows the state well enough to represent it. I’m going to listen to what he has to say and see if there’s any indication to how he might feel.”

Harold Square owner Kim Cass said Baldasaro approached her about bringing Brown to the restaurant.

“(Baldasaro) is one of our regular customers,” she said. “We try to support our regular customers. But we try not to take sides when it comes to politics. Everyone is welcome.”

Brown will be at the restaurant between 7 and 9 p.m. tomorrow. He will be signing copies of his book, “Against the Odds.”