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May 26. 2014 5:36PM

Ayotte, two former governors to endorse Scott Brown's N.H. Senate bid


Former Mass. Sen. Scott Brown, left, and N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte. 

U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown just added a lot of Republican firepower to his potential battle with incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and former New Hampshire Govs. Craig Benson and Steve Merrill will endorse Brown at an event being held Tuesday at Norton's Classic Cafe in Nashua at 2:30 p.m.

In an e-mail sent to the New Hampshire Union Leader from the Brown campaign, Ayotte cited Brown's common-sense solutions and his 35 years of service in the Army National Guard.

"Scott Brown has what it takes to win this election and represent New Hampshire values in Washington," Ayotte wrote in the e-mail. "He is the right guy for the job, and I would be proud to have him as my teammate in the United States Senate to keep fighting for New Hampshire families."

Brown will first have to win the Republican nomination in a September primary for the opportunity to face Shaheen in the November general election. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, former state Sen. Jim Rubens and Republican activist Karen Testerman are also running.

Earlier this year, former Massachusetts Sen. Brown, who has a summer home in Rye, registered as a New Hampshire voter and declared he would run for the Senate seat occupied by Shaheen. If he wins, Brown would be the first person to serve two states in the U.S. Senate in more than two centuries.

Brown, 54, defeated Martha Coakley in a 2010 special election to succeed Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy for the remainder of his term, which ended Jan. 3, 2013. He also ran for a full Senate term in 2012, but lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

He announced in April he would run for the New Hampshire Senate seat and has been traversing the state since to garner support.

"I'm honored to have earned the support of these respected New Hampshire leaders," Brown said in a written statement. "I'm looking forward to working with them toward a victory in the fall, and joining Senator Ayotte in the Senate to help her fight for more good-paying jobs, a repeal of Obamacare and restore Granite State principles to our congressional delegation."

Shaheen's office could not be reached for comment Monday.

Shaheen, 67, has held the seat since defeating John E. Sununu in 2008.

In a May 8 poll conducted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, Shaheen held a slight edge over Brown, garnering 39.2 percent to 35.7 for Brown, with 25.2 percent of respondents unsure.

There is already tension rising between the two campaigns.

About a month ago, the state Democratic Party asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Brown violated election law by failing to file campaign spending reports in a timely fashion. The NHDP action came three days after the state Republican Committee filed a formal complaint of its own, charging the campaign of Shaheen with illegally coordinating advertising by outside political action committees.

The primary election is scheduled for Sept. 9; the general election is Nov. 4.

mquirk@unionleader.com


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