Romney To Endorse Scott Brown In NH Senate Race

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By CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser

(CNN) — Mitt Romney’s making another endorsement, and this time it’s in a crucial Senate race in his own backyard.

CNN has learned that next week the 2012 GOP presidential nominee will endorse Scott Brown, the frontrunner among the Republican candidates hoping to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire this November.

“It gives me a great deal of pride to announce that Governor Mitt Romney will be in New Hampshire on Wednesday, July 2nd to formally endorse my campaign for U.S. Senate. Together, we will rally with Republicans and those who want to make a difference in this election,” Brown says in an email that his campaign will send to supporters Tuesday morning.

Romney’s very well known in New Hampshire. He owns a vacation home there, has often appeared at GOP events in across the state, and was governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Romney easily won the Granite State’s 2012 Republican presidential primary, but lost New Hampshire by six percentage points to President Barack Obama in the general election.

Since his defeat in the 2012 presidential election, Romney has taken on the role of Republican Party elder statesman, in hopes of helping shape the future of the party. And while he has made endorsements in a number of GOP primary battles this cycle, he’s only appeared on the campaign with candidates a couple of times. Most recently, he traveled to Iowa to campaign with state Sen. Joni Ernst, who earlier this month went on to win the Hawkeye State’s Republican Senate nomination.

In his email, which was obtained by CNN, Brown goes on to say that “I know a lot of you feel the same way I do: Our country would be in much better shape if Governor Romney were in the White House today. Governor Romney was right about so many things, whether the subject is the still-sputtering economy, an aggressive Russia moving to expand its sphere of influence, or the vacuum left in Iraq by the failure to leave behind a residual force to secure our hard-fought gains.”

And Brown takes a shot at Shaheen, adding that “President Obama’s allies in the Senate, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen, have supported his disastrous policies to the detriment of the American people.”

According to the Brown email, the event will take place at Doug and Stella Scamman’s Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, near the New Hampshire seacoast. That’s the same spot where in June 2011 Romney formally announced his 2012 bid for the White House.

Brown, a former senator from neighboring Massachusetts sold his home in the Bay State late last year and moved his residency north to New Hampshire, where he owed a vacation home and where he spent much of his childhood. In April he formally launched his Senate bid in New Hampshire.

Brown joins two other Republicans who are running for their party’s Senate nomination in New Hampshire: former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. Conservative activist Karen Testerman dropped out of the race earlier this month and endorsed Smith. The winner of the September 9 primary will face off against Shaheen, who also served for six years as the state’s governor.

Two polls released last week indicated Brown trailing Shaheen by 10 and 12 percentage points. One of the two surveys also suggested that Brown was the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

From Massachusetts to New Hampshire

Brown, then a little-known state senator, in Massachusetts, scored an upset victory in a special election in January 2010 to serve the final three years of the term of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had died the previous summer. Brown lost his bid 2012 re-election bid for a full six-year term to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

During the 2012 campaign, as Brown tried to fend off the challenge from Warren in blue state Massachusetts, appeared to distance himself a bit from Romney, who Brown considered a political mentor during their days together in Bay State politics.

Last year, Brown passed on running in a special election in Massachusetts to fill the term of John Kerry, who left the Senate to become secretary of state. And at the time, Brown also announced that he wouldn’t make a 2014 bid for an open governor’s seat in the Bay State.

Brown made a number of speaking appearances at GOP events in New Hampshire last year. Last fall, in another hint about a possible run, he dropped the ‘MA’ from his Twitter handle. Since late year, when he began considering a Senate bid in New Hampshire, Brown began been highlighting his ties to the Granite State, to push back against Democrats’ characterizations of him as a “carpetbagger” from Massachusetts.

If Brown ends up winning the GOP’s September primary and runs a competitive race against Shaheen, it would expand the map for Republicans. Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states, like New Hampshire.

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