What's Next For Scott Brown?

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Sen. Scott Brown, during his Election Night concession speech (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)
Sen. Scott Brown, during his Election Night concession speech (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown says he doesn’t know what’s in his future, now that he has failed to win re-election. On Tuesday, he lost by 7 percentage points to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. His term ends in January. And everyone is speculating about what this popular Republican politician will do.

Brown dropped several hints about his future on Election Night. One was in his concession speech: "There are no obstacles you can’t overcome, and defeat is only temporary," he said.

The cheering dissolved into chants of "Go, Scott, Go." After the speech, when he greeted supporters, he told many of them, "I’ll be back." But when asked directly about his plans, he shrugged off suggestions of running for office again.

"Listen, I’m not even worrying about that," he said. "I’m going to have a couple of Coca-Cola's with people and relax."

In a statement, Brown said he plans to spend time with his family when he gets back from Washington in January. But in reality his adult daughters aren’t around much. Ayla is the official National Anthem singer for the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and Arianna is a pre-med student at Syracuse University.

Brown might not be idle for long. It’s no secret that if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves her post, Sen. John Kerry is a leading candidate to replace her. That would prompt a special election for the Senate seat and get Brown's former colleagues on Capital Hill thinking of him again.

"If that happens, I think [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell would have him on speed dial calling him immediately," said Jessica Taylor, a senior analyst with the Rothenberg Political Report in Washington.

"I think he’s still seen as a rising star within the party," she added. "Massachusetts is a blue state, it’s hard to break, but in a non-presidential year it becomes much easier for him to win."

Many Bay State Republicans believe Brown will stay in politics.

"Scott Brown is a talented guy," said Peter Blute, the state party's deputy chair. "He’s a great U.S. senator. He’s made a lot of friends in Washington on both sides of the aisle. He’s very popular back here in Massachusetts, so I think he has a lot of options."

Blute also suggested Brown could run for Senate again, either in a special election if Kerry is named secretary of state, or against Kerry in 2014. He also noted the governor’s office will be up for grabs in 2014.

"As a person Scott Brown is very competitive," observed John Sivolella, a conservative commentator who has advised Senate candidates. "And I think he actually liked the process. He’s been campaigning for his U.S. Senate seat really nonstop for like three years. So he’s probably tired but he is a competitor. And there’s a little bit of ego involved, too, so he’s going to definitely be back somewhere."

If he were to run, Sivolella says Brown would need to repair his “good guy” image after running negative ads about Warren’s character. But, Sivolella says, he’d be a strong candidate for any statewide or federal office.

"He’s going to remain a pillar of the party, along with [former gubernatorial candidate] Charlie Baker. It’s really right now Scott Brown and Charlie Baker are the two quality people with pretty big followings. Neither one is going to go anywhere."

Brown is a lawyer and colonel in the National Guard, two professions he could fall back on. But few believe that path will interest him as much as politics.

This program aired on November 9, 2012.


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