Former Sen. Scott Brown has a long, uphill fight ahead of him in the race to win the hearts, and ultimately the votes, of the citizens in New Hampshire. Brown announced on Friday that he was putting together an exploratory committee, which is essentially the building blocks of a political campaign, to challenge incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, for her seat.
While the crowd at the meeting where Brown announced his intentions seemed enthusiastic about the news, many members of the Republican party in attendance cautioned that he would still have to put in some serious work in order to gain the favor and votes of New Hampshire citizens, who are known to be mostly independent. It seems that interviews with citizens across the state on Saturday proved that statement to be true.
Many of the individuals who were interviewed had no idea who Scott Brown was, which is definitely indicative that a long fight for the hearts of New Hampshire needs to start with an intense ground game that is focused on getting out in front of constituents. As if being unknown was not tough enough, it seems that in a poll done by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, indicates that 38 percent of the adults in the state who have heard of Brown have an unfavorable opinion of the former Senator.
The New Hampshire crowd does not seem to be one that can be sweet talked by typical political rhetoric, which means that Brown is going to have wait until after the people have a chance to see where he stands on the issues to find out if he will gain their support. Brown is not getting much support from fellow GOP members, as many have labeled him a “RINO” or Republican-in-name-only, meaning that many of his stances on policy tend to line up more with liberal ideology than the platform traditionally held by Republicans. It seems that the former Senator has also burned a lot of bridges with Tea Party groups, who helped get him elected in Massachusetts back in 2010. If this is the case, the fight may end up being a losing battle.
One of the strongest arguments that Brown has working against him is that he is not really a New Hampshire person. Many believe he’s simply being a carpetbagger, moving from one state into the next as a means of furthering his political career, rather than seeking to improve the lives of New Hampshire’s citizens. Is owning a vacation home and visiting a state on holidays enough to truly connect someone to the people who live there? Critics on both sides of the aisle say not a chance.
When looking at the big picture of the situation, saying that Brown is in for a battle seems like an understatement. He has a lot working against him, which means that since he is the challenger, the reasons he gives constituents for their votes will have to be extraordinarily convincing. Scott Brown faces a long fight ahead for the hearts of New Hampshire, but it seems that his only real chance of pulling off a victory depend on how bad citizens want to get rid of Sen. Shaheen.
By Michael Cantrell