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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Scott Brown says 'nothing is really changed' on political plans

By John DiStaso, Senior Political Reporter
December 06. 2013 11:11AM

FRIDAY, DEC. 6: BROWN IN TOWN. As the speculation continued over the possibility of former Massachusetts Scott Brown running for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire, Brown made another appearance in the state Thursday night.

Brown attended a private meet-and-greet at the Harold Square restaurant in Londonderry, organized by the Londonderry Republican Committee.

Brown Thursday told the Granite Status in an email he realizes "there's a lot of speculation but quite honestly it's not coming from me. Nothing is really changed."

He told reporters prior to the event he has no timetable for when he will decide his political future.

Two weeks from today, Dec. 19, Brown will appear at a New Hampshire Republican Party holiday reception fund-raiser. The location was announced on Friday as the Hunt Memorial Building on Main Street in Nashua. (see item below)

Brown has not ruled out the possibility of establishing residence in New Hampshire, where he has long owned a second home, and running for the seat held by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year.

Earlier this week, former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith announced that he will run for the seat, joining fellow prominent Republicans former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman.

Shaheen's campaign Thursday sent a fund-raising email to supporters targeting both Brown and Smith.

"Between Massachusetts' Scott Brown, who's coming again to New Hampshire (Thursda), and radical Bob Smith, who's filing papers to run," the Shaheen campaign email said, "we could face the unprecedented challenge of running against two former senators – because the GOP has to defeat me to take the Senate.

"(Former Bush administration adviser) Karl Rove and his billionaire-funded Super PACs will have a candidate to pour millions into (the race). Outside groups could spend more than the $21 million they did in New Hampshire in 2012. If we don't respond immediately, we risk our entire Senate majority," the Shaheen campaign email said.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4. SMITH'S FIRST HIRING. Republican former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith said today he is about to make the first staff hiring of his new campaign for the Senate seat held by Jeanne Shaheen.

Smith said he has a verbal agreement, "which will be finalized by the end of the month," with long-time conservative activist Sam Pimm to be his 2014 campaign manager.

Pimm most recently was field operations director of former U.S. House speaker New Gingrich's presidential campaign in New Hampshire during the 2012 presidential primary campaign. Smith spent several months in New Hampshire during that campaign and worked as an adviser to the Gingrich camp.

Previously, Pimm worked with former state Rep. Fran Wendelboe on a group called the Reagan Network, which was a conservative alternative group to the Republican State Committee circa. 2006-2009. Wendelboe is now a member of the state committee's executive committee.

Smith said earlier this week he also expected Merrimack activist Patricia Miller to be "part of (his) team."

Smith announced last Sunday he intends to return to New Hampshire full-time from Florida and run for the Senate seat held by Shaheen. He served as a U.S. Senator for two terms, having been elected in 1990 and 1996 before losing in a GOP Senate primary in 2002 to John E. Sununu.

Also in the 2014 GOP race are former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman, while former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has not ruled out a run, sparking speculation nationally.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

TUESDAY, DEC. 3: BROWN: NH HURT BY OBAMACARE. With yet another scheduled appearance in New Hampshire and his prominent use of the Granite State as an example of the "trainwreck" of Obamacare, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown continued to build speculation Tuesday that he's planning a run for the state's open U.S. Senate seat next year.

The state Republican Party said it landed Brown as the keynote speaker for its holiday reception on Dec. 19, with a location yet to be announced. It will be the latest, and most prominent, in a long list of Brown appearances in the Granite State for candidates, Republican functions and service clubs since the spring.

Brown has long had a home in Rye, and family members live in the Seacoast area.

He has reportedly sold his home in Wrentham, Mass., which had been on the market for several months, and could easily become an official resident of the Granite State at any time.

He also changed his Twitter handle recently from @ScottBrownMA to the more generic @SenScottBrown., citing unnamed sources, reported that Brown's wife, Gail Huff, a television journalist, has told "former colleagues in Boston" he plans to run against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Brown has also set up a New Hampshire version of his "The People's Seat" political action committee to provide donations to GOP candidates and causes. One of the PAC's first checks was a $10,000 donation to the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Tickets for the holiday reception event will be $50, with sponsorships also available.

"Senator Brown is an outstanding leader and a strong voice for fiscally responsible policies," said NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn, confirming the Brown appearance.

"He has been a tremendous supporter of our party and we are grateful that he continues to help us raise the resources we need to win in 2014."

News of the Brown appearance came two days after former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith announced that he had reversed an earlier decision and will become a candidate for the Senate seat held by Shaheen. Smith said he will officially relocate from his current residence in Florida to his long-time home in Tuftonboro later this month.

Other prominent Republicans who have announced for the Senate seat are former state Sen. Jim Rubens of Hanover and conservative activist Karen Testerman of Franklin.

Shaheen has been actively fund-raising to build her reelection warchest and has often criticized Brown in fund-raising emails to supporters.

Brown, meanwhile, cited New Hampshire Tuesday in an opinion piece critical of the Affordable Care Act that he wrote for He is an official "contributor" to the cable news network.

He wrote that the recent "Obamacare" saga has been a prime example of "hypocrisy and double standards" in Washington.

He lamented that "millions of Americans have received letters of cancellation" and "some of the country's top medical facilities are being excluded from the new exchange system.

"For example," he wrote, "in New Hampshire only 16 of the state's 26 hospitals are available on the federal exchange, meaning patients must either pay more to keep their current doctor or seek inferior care elsewhere."

He wrote that Democrats are now "hiding behind meaningless show votes in Congress, offering half-hearted and meaningless attempts to reinstate cancelled plans or delay implementation of some of the particularly onerous new federal regulations."

While not mentioning Shaheen, Brown wrote, "ObamaCare became the law of the land because every single Democratic senator fell in line with their party bosses and voted for it. For any sitting member of the Senate to somehow how suggest that they are fighting to protect their constituents from this 'trainwreck' is completely hypocritical."

Brown noted that while President Barack Obama will not face the voters again, "his congressional enablers and supporters will, in less than a year.

"When they do it's going to be an unpleasant experience for any incumbent having to explain their deciding vote and continued support for the ongoing disaster of ObamaCare."

(An earlier Granite Status report follows.)

TUESDAY, DEC. 3: SILVA BACKS LAMBERT. Former state Rep. Pete Silva backed former state Sen. Gary Lambert, a fellow Nashuan, for the 2nd District U.S. House seat Tuesday, calling him "the conservative change we need in Washington."

Silva was the New Hampshire House Majority Leader during part of Rep. Bill O'Brien's tenure as House speaker. O'Brien has endorsed Lambert's Republican primary foe, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia and Silva is the first member of his former leadership team to back Lambert.

Silva recently lost a bid to return to the House in a special election, a campaign marked by controversial comments he made about his opponent, Democratic Rep. Latha Mangipudi, who is of Indian descent.

Silva, however, is still viewed as an influential conservative.

Silva said that Lambert, as a state senator, "always put his constituents first, fighting for the middle class above all else.

"If elected to represent New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional district these are the values that Col. Lambert will bring with him to change Washington," Silva said.

(See earlier Granite Status reports elsewhere on this page or by clicking on "Granite Status" above.)

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