Brown Says He Will Not Run for Re-election
Scott Brown Prepares for His Role as Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 23:02
Two weeks after announcing that he will not run in the special election to fill new Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant Senate seat, former U.S. Senator Scott Brown, BC Law ’85, has been left to mull over his future in and out of politics.
Brown cited several reasons for his decision not to run, one of which was the extreme partisanship that is prevalent in the Senate. His philosophy, rooted in his moderate stance on many issues, is to contribute to across-the-aisle compromise, something he said is simply not happening.
“That big-tent moderation on both sides is missing because there’s extremes on both the left and the right folks, and we’re in trouble,” the former Republican senator said Sunday in an interview with CBS-3 Springfield.
Another factor leading Brown away from another Senate campaign was the prospect of running four campaigns in five years—if he had won his seat back this spring, he would be up for re-election next year. That amount of campaigning, aside from being physically exhausting, would have been draining on his donors as well.
Passing up on the chance to regain his seat in the Senate does not mean Brown is leaving politics for good, however. Many have speculated that he is gearing up for a bid for the Massachusetts governorship in 2014, fueled by the fact that Governor Deval Patrick is not seeking a third term.
With no Democratic heir-apparent to Patrick, the GOP might be willing to concede the Senate seat to the Democrats with the hope of retaking the governorship. Historically, Massachusetts Republicans have fared better running for statewide office than Congress—Republicans, among them former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, held the governorship from 1991 to 2007.
“You don’t have all that national gunk on you” in a gubernatorial election, former state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei told Politico. “People tend to look at you more as an individual. The national brand is hard to overcome in the state.”
Voters viewing candidates as individuals, rather than a talking puppet for a party line, should be a plus for Brown, a moderate who has never fallen into a definitive partisan category. This independent standing won him high in-state approval ratings while serving in the Senate.
In the short-term, however, Brown appears to be turning to the private sector to occupy his time and decompress from his failed 2012 Senate campaign in which he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Last week, he joined the board of directors of Kadant, Inc., a Westford, MA based paper manufacturing company.
On Wednesday, Brown added television to his resume, with Fox News confirming that he will join the national network as an on-air political commentator. He made his debut Wednesday night on Hannity, where he commented on Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
President Barack Obama proposed “things that we can work on, but the key is to do it together,” Brown said.
In the interview with CBS-3 Springfield, Brown expressed his excitement at the prospect of spreading his moderate views to a national television audience.
“Having an opportunity to get out there and be the only moderate voice, really, on national TV—who else is there?” he said. “Who else has the ability to not only battle against both sides and do it with credibility based on my voting record— the fact that I was there as the most bipartisan senator.”
GOP insiders warn, though, that joining Fox News could potentially be risky for Brown’s future political endeavors.
“To be a good commentator, you’ve got to take a controversial position on the issues of the day,” Republican consultant Rob Gray told The Boston Herald. “That could be dangerous if you want to run for political office.”
The fact that Brown is not running and the uncertainty surrounding his political future sums up the general sense of disinterestedness among Massachusetts Republicans with regard to the upcoming special election.
With other high-profile potential candidates aside from Brown also declining to run—among them, former Governor William Weld and Romney’s former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey—few expect the Republican nominee to win against a more prominent Democratic challenger.
In the meantime, Republicans are trying to pass off little-known candidates who, upon initial review, seem like they would almost certainly be steamrolled by either U.S. Representative Edward Markey or Representative Stephen Lynch in the June 25 election as young, up-and-coming prospective nominees.
“The current group of Republicans taking a long, hard look at this race are going to be a stark contrast to the mediocre congressmen currently vying for the Democratic nomination,” Massachusetts GOP spokesman Tim Buckley told The Globe. “What better way to offer a fresh face and new direction for the voters of Massachusetts than with this group of potential candidates?”
The two biggest names Republicans are offering at the moment are state Representative and former Romney aide Daniel Winslow, who announced his candidacy last week, and private equity investor Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, who declared his intention to run Tuesday.
Gomez and Winslow have both called for Massachusetts voters to send a Republican to Washington to break the stalemate.