Alumnus Brown running in New Hampshire


Tufts alumnus Republican Scott Brown (LA '81) on April 10 announced his campaign for a New Hampshire Senate seat against Democratic incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Brown lost his run for the Massachusetts Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in 2012. As the Nov. 4 election approaches, the coming months will be key to Brown's campaign. The race is currently heating up, with both sides firing accusations of illegal campaign tactics, according to a May 4 Boston Herald article.

Brown's first foray into politics was during his undergraduate years at Tufts, where he served as a Tufts Community Union Senate representative. Since graduating, Brown continued his political career in Massachusetts, working as a state senator from 2004 until 2010, when he won the special election to fill the late United States Senator Ted Kennedy's seat. Brown won the election with 52 percent of the vote against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who held 47 percent of voters.

Michael Gottfried (LA '80), who was vice chairman of the TCU Senate when Brown served as a senator, discussed Brown's political accomplishments during his time at Tufts.

“I introduced a resolution to donate some student fees to Oxfam, and we didn't have the authority to do that, and [Brown] held a referendum for the student body,” Gottfried said. “The student body overwhelmingly voted to donate, and we had students elect to donate a meal.”

Gottfried said that during their time on TCU Senate, he and Brown changed the process by which student clubs received funding — changes that are still in effect today.

“We committed [to] allocating various funds to clubs with respect to their budget requests,” Gottfried said. “[Brown] was an active and contributing member like everyone else was.”

Aside from serving on TCU, Brown played on the Tufts men's basketball team for four years. It was here that he earned his nickname “Downtown Scotty Brown” for his excellent jump shot, according to David Rabin (LA '83), a college friend of Brown's.

“I think Scotty was a big factor in boosting school spirit, as people really rallied around the basketball team,” Rabin told the Daily in an email. “Those games were great for the Tufts community, and Scott was a great representative of the school.”

According to a Jan. 20, 2010 Tufts men's basketball press release, Brown only missed three games during his entire undergraduate career at Tufts. He also served as co-captain of the team from 1980 to 1981.

Rabin told the Daily that he met Brown primarily through sports.

“I played lacrosse,” he said. “I knew all the guys on the hoops team well. A lot of guys my year were starters with Scotty, so I met him through them and through a few of my housemates.”

Gottfried said that though they would often talk about basketball, he and Brown rarely discussed Brown's potential future career.

“We certainly didn't talk about him going into politics when we were back at Tufts,” Gottfried said. “When he first ran for state representative, I thought that was interesting.”

In his current campaign, Brown is up against four other Republicans, but in an April 10 Boston Globe article GOP Strategist Dave Carney predicts that Brown will emerge victorious come Sept. 9. Tufts students shared their own speculations.

TCU Senator James Golden said that Brown could improve his answers to tough political questions.

“I've actually met him and … I asked him a very normal question,” Golden, a sophomore, said. “He was going to vote against a bill that would've stopped the student loan interest rates going [up]. … I asked him, 'Why?' [because] that's really important to people in school like me. He said, 'I can't talk right now.'”

Working against Shaheen, who has held the position since 2009, may prove even more difficult for Brown, according to Golden.

“Shaheen has a really strong establishment in New Hampshire,” he said. “She's kind of a political legacy in New Hampshire, so it's going to be hard to dethrone [someone] like that. It would be like someone running against a Kennedy [in Massachusetts].”

On top of this, Brown's political career has been primarily based in Massachusetts. According to Golden, this could also be a disadvantage for Brown in New Hampshire.

“No one likes a carpetbagger,” Golden said. “That's a saying for a reason.”

Gottfried noted, however, that despite Brown's absence in New Hampshire politics, he is no stranger to the area.

“I understand he has had a place in New Hampshire for a very long time,” Gottfried said.

Regardless of whether voters consider him a local, Brown's voting record may make him a more appealing candidate. According to an April 28 Boston Globe article, between 2011 to 2012 Brown voted with Republicans 66 percent of the time and Shaheen with Democrats 96 percent of the time. Golden believes this record may cast him in a more moderate light and could even the playing field between him and his opponent.

“That's definitely something that I know people have seen as his strong point,” Golden said.12