By Ted Siefer
CONCORD N.H. (Reuters) – Former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown won the nod from New Hampshire Republican voters on Tuesday to take on Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen in November, in a race his party sees as a chance to gain control of the Senate.
Throughout his six-month campaign, Brown had largely ignored his party rivals to focus on Shaheen, trying to tie her directly to President Barack Obama, whose popularity has dropped in the largely rural state in recent months.
Brown, a lawyer and father of two grown daughters, carried that message directly into his acceptance speech.
“New Hampshire voters have a unique chance to be a check and balance on six years of failed policies,” Brown told supporters at a Concord conference center. “If we’re ever going to hold this president accountable, we have to hold this senator accountable.”
Even before Brown declared victory, Shaheen told supporters in Manchester on Tuesday she was ready for the match-up with a rival who moved to New Hampshire, where he grew up, late last year after decades of living in neighboring Massachusetts.
“I didn’t just move here. I’ve been here, working to make a difference for New Hampshire,” she said. “New Hampshire is not a consolation prize.”
Brown won a three-way primary, easily beating former state Senator Jim Rubens, whose campaign had won the backing of a new Super-PAC aimed at reducing the role of money in U.S. politics, and former U.S. Senator Bob Smith.
Prominent U.S. Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, the former Massachusetts governor and failed 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had all thrown their weight beyond Brown.
Brown stunned Massachusetts Democrats in 2010 when he won the seat held by liberal Democratic champion Edward Kennedy for a half-century. He lost to Elizabeth Warren in his first re-election bid in 2012.
Brown’s anti-Obama message resonated with Concord retiree Dan Luers.
“Scott Brown is a solid guy and he’s been able to generate support,” said Luers, 54. “So much of the population is ready for Jeanne Shaheen to go.”
(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Dan Grebler)