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Brown’s Rare Chance At A Senate ‘Do-Over’

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, Elizabeth Warren will be sworn in as a U.S. senator. Within days, though, the Cambridge Democrat could become the state’s senior senator. That’s because 28-year incumbent Sen. John Kerry is expected to be confirmed soon as U.S. secretary of state.

And soon replacing him could be the very U.S. senator that Warren unseated: Scott Brown. The Wrentham Republican now has a rare chance to get right back on the horse that bucked him off.

“Do-overs in the space of a couple of months are rare,” said Tufts University political scientist Jeffrey Berry. Berry says it’s clear that Brown is well aware of his unique opportunity.

Sen. Scott Brown, during his Election Night concession speech (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

Sen. Scott Brown, during his Election Night concession speech (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

To wit: Brown’s concession speech from Election Night. He had just lost a contentious Senate race against Warren, the most expensive in American history. But Brown was extremely gracious and almost shrugged off the loss as a bump in the road.

“There are no obstacles you can’t overcome, and defeat is only temporary,” Brown said to a crescendo of applause.

He repeated that refrain in his farewell speech from the Senate floor last month. “Fare-thee-well?” Not really. The speech sounded more like he was saying: “Goodbye for now.”

“Defeat is temporary,” Brown told his audience in the chamber. “You know, depending on what happens and where we go — all of us — we may obviously meet again.”

And those senators do have some say over whether they may meet Brown again. If they confirm Kerry to become secretary of state, as expected, Kerry’s vacant Senate seat would be filled in a special election, probably in June.

Berry says Brown just finished a campaign and still has an organization in place and some campaign money left over. Berry says Brown is the automatic front-runner. A recent WBUR poll found Brown leading strongly in hypothetical match-ups against several Massachusetts Democrats.

“The Republican Party in Massachusetts has no one else,” Berry said, “literally no one else that can run a competitive race against whoever the Democrats nominate. So it’s Scott Brown or bust.”

And Massachusetts Democrats want to make it a bust. They were caught by surprise three years ago when Brown came from nowhere to win Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat. State party Chairman John Walsh says state Democrats won’t be embarrassed again.

“We spent about a year and a half trying to make sure Scott Brown didn’t continue in the Senate,” Walsh said. “Nobody’s interested in sending him down there to negate Elizabeth Warren’s votes. We’ll be ready.”

So far, the lone Democrat to say he’s running is U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, of Malden. And key state Democrats, including Kerry, are lining up behind Markey. They want to avoid a bruising primary, when the winner would have only six weeks after that to wage a general election campaign.

But U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch are also seriously considering running. So is state Sen. Ben Downing. U.S. Rep. James McGovern is not, but he says an open Senate seat is a rare opportunity for ambitious Democrats, and he expects Markey won’t be alone.

“Look, in a perfect world, it’d be nice if there was one candidate,” McGovern said. “But the notion that somebody’s going to clear the field, I’m not sure that’s realistic.”

While the Democratic field takes shape amid pressure to coalesce around one candidate, Republican Brown can sit back and watch how things play out. He hasn’t said whether he’s running. Even so, Tufts’ Berry says Brown would have to have a compelling reason not to take another crack with this rare chance at a do-over.

“Scott Brown is going to have as much money as he needs,” Berry said. “This is an opportunity for the national Republican Party to bloody the nose of Barack Obama. And they’re not going to let this opportunity pass by. And it’s all the sweeter if it comes from Massachusetts, which is a very, very blue state.”

If Scott Brown does run, it would be his third U.S. Senate race within four years.


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  • wareinparis

    Scott Brown had his chance, showed his colors, and now needs to step aside.

    • Jeannie

       Where is Barney? A few years ago he was building a war chest should Kerry win the presidency. Here is the vacancy and opportunity. Barney will trounce any Republican that dares to show up. Come out of retirement. Massachusetts needs you and the country needs your fiscal brains to steer us out of this mess.

  • Flitzy

    Scott Brown was shown to be a misogynistic, ultra-right wing anti-middle class disaster. He isn’t getting anywhere near the Senate again.

    Massachusetts doesn’t repeat the same mistakes they made once before (see: Mitt Romney).

  • TJohn76051

    Another two-bit trash-talk comment by an also ran who moved to DC; transferred to the Maryland National Guard; voted party line Republican dogma; embraced  the Norquist “Pledge” and failed to show up for a final debate. Oh yes, by the way, he lost the election to a person who had never run for office.
    Back to neighborhood banking for Scott. William Weld will see to that.

  • http://nancib.wordpress.com/ BostonPeng

    Of course we’re already seeing the kind of campaign he plans to run this time. Senator Kerry doesn’t even have a confirmation hearing scheduled, let alone completed, and Mr. Brown (he’s not a senator anymore so I don’t give him the honorific) is already attacking other candidates. I guess “Mr. Nice Guy” was just a handy label he wore to win the first election, and now he’s shed it like a barn coat that no longer does any good in a New England winter.

  • StephanieSims

    The vicious, hateful left wingers are out in full force. You people are so sickening.

    • durhamkid

       You’ve told us nothing with your remark, Stephanie, other than that  you are  Brown supporter.

      BTW: I just read all the Brown posts and, while they are clearly from people who do not like Brown, I heard some very specific charges in there.

      Do you care to explain why you like Brown?

    • gardenia

      I fear that Right Wingers like you could be a real and present danger to the USA.

      That  is how Hitler got his start.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Although no political orientation has a monopoly on hate, fear, resentment, and disdain, in American politics it is the Right by far that exploits these sentiments the most. 

      It is always amusing that conservatives think nothing of how their politicians allow the birther nonsense to freely spread, but get very touchy whenever even the mildest of ad hominems are directed at their candidates. 

      On Fox News Network  the other day, nasty aspersions about Hillary Clinton’s concussion were made to millions of their viewers. 

      http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/12/20/foxs-evening-shows-mock-hillary-clintons-concus/191920

      Nasty — that pretty much characterizes the persona of the major public voice of the American right.

      We heard incessant trash talk last election about Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry, both on and off the airwaves, and Scott Brown did absolutely nothing to moderate it. His campaign staff were part of this ugly chapter in Mass. politics.

  • Rella

    If Brown were reelected, would Warren still be the senior senator? Or would Brown get the title?

  • ThirdWayForward

    Hasn’t Massachusetts had enough of Brown already?

  • KOVAINANBAN

    Well, having just beaten soundly by modern day Pocahontas, Scott Brown doesn’t have much chance against mighty Markey.

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