WASHINGTON – Scott Brown, defeated last November in a marquee election battle for a Massachusetts Senate seat by Elizabeth Warren, has opted against seeking a return to Congress this June in the special election to replace John F. Kerry.
The Republican revealed his decision in a text message to a Boston Herald reporter Friday, the same day Kerry officially resigns from the Senate to become secretary of State.
Brown shocked the political world with his 2010 upset victory to claim the seat that had been held by the late Edward M. Kennedy. But, while Brown remains popular in the Bay State, a comeback bid would have been no sure thing.
Democrats, both in the state and nationally, have vowed not to be caught off guard again as they were when Brown defeated state Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley. And if Brown were to win, he would face yet another election in November 2014 to win a full six-year term, which would have been his fourth statewide run in as many years.
“I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time,” Brown said in a statement.
As a Republican in a deeply blue state, Brown would have had to again walk an ideological tight rope on key issues like immigration and guns, choosing between breaking from his party or giving potential Democratic opponents fodder for the next campaign. In his statement, Brown noted that, while his election “wasn’t exactly welcome news for President Obama or many other Democrats,” his best memories in office “are visits to the White House to see the President sign into law bills that I had sponsored.”
Brown may have his eyes on another prize – the governorship – with incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick ruling out a bid for a third term. He hinted as much in his statement, saying that the Senate is “not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.”
Two Democratic congressman are already running for the Senate seat – Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch. Speculation on the Republican side now centers on Richard Tisei, an openly gay former state lawmaker who ran a competitive campaign for Congress in 2012.