New Hampshire Primary Season Is Already Upon Us

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 2 2013 11:18 AM

Gearing up for the New Hampshire Primary

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Scott Brown in 2010.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

No, sorry, not that New Hampshire primary—the Republican primary for Senate in 2014. The field is already crowded with state politicians, but two former senators recently joined the party: former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who beat Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election to replace Ted Kennedy but lost to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, and Bob Smith, the former New Hampshire senator who has seemingly made a living from losing primaries for the past decade.

Smith, who is more conservative than Brown, ran a failed presidential campaign in 2000 as an independent, lost his New Hampshire Senate seat to John Sununu in 2002, and ran for Senate in Florida twice, only to quit each time before the primary. In July, Smith told WMUR he was considering a run for his old seat in the Granite State, but in October said he wouldn't run.

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Brown and Smith would challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the freshman Democrat who won with just 52 percent of the vote in 2008. Republicans need to take back six seats in 2014 to regain control of the Senate.

As James Hohmann writes, Brown would likely have an advantage over Smith in national fundraising. And media obsession with Brown is such that entire blog posts have stressed the fact that he dropped "MA" from his Twitter handle last week. But they'd both face cries of "carpetbagger!"—Smith has lived in Florida since 2002, and Brown is a Massachusetts lifer, though he recently, notably, sold his house.

Plus, "Bob Smith vs. Scott Brown" sort of sounds like a Schoolhouse Rock! example of two candidates' names on a primary ballot.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

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