Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Join as a $13-a-month sustainer and get the retro NHPR t-shirt!
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d390000Race: U.S SenateParty: RepublicanPolitical Experience: 2010-2012 - U.S Senate from Massachusetts2004-2010 – Massachusetts State Senate1998-2004 – Massachusetts House of RepresentativesPersonal: Married; lives in RyeEducation: Bachelor’s, Tufts University; J.D., Boston College Law SchoolCampaign WebsiteIssuesBrown says one of the main reasons he is seeking the seat held by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is the need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and encourage states to craft their own legislative solutions.A supporter of “Romneycare,” the Massachusetts health care program that includes many of the same components of the ACA, Brown voted to repeal so-called Obamacare in 2010. Yet he acknowledges that benefits offered by the ACA, such as requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions, are important enough to be part of a New Hampshire plan.“We need to repeal Obamacare and we need to put in place something that works for us…. There’s no reason why we can’t do it and also respecting our rights and freedoms and also doing it more competitively.”In late July, Brown began running television ads blaming Shaheen and President Obama for the “immigration crisis on our hands.” He criticized Shaheen for supporting immigration reforms that include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S., which Brown characterizes as “amnesty.”Brown told NHPR’s Brady Carlson that the U.S. needs to “secure our border once and for all.” But he supports allowing foreign students with visas to obtain green cards instead of automatically returning to their country of origin, and he says some workers ought to be allowed to remain in the U.S. if there is a need.“I look at it in different pillars. The first pillar is if we have kids who are here from out of country and they’re going to school, they should get a diploma and the ability to stay here and live and work if they want. That’s a no brainer.If we have people who need seasonal help because we have a service industry in our state, tourism, etc., and there’s needs to be filled, we should allow that to happen…. If you’re looking at executives and other engineers, doctors, etc., and there’s a need and we can’t fill that need in order to keep our businesses vibrant and in our state, we should allow that to happen, no problem.”Brown supports an "all of the above" energy plan that includes federal tax subsidies to encourage the development of solar, geothermal and nuclear energy technologies. A one-time supporter of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program for New England states, Brown now opposes cap and trade or a "national energy tax," saying it would increase costs to consumers.

Can 'Security Moms' Help Scott Brown Bridge The Gender Gap?

Boverman/Jensen for NHPR

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is making a big push for the women’s vote, which for three decades has tilted toward her party. But this year, GOP challenger Scott Brown is trying to exploit what may be a new vulnerability for Democratic candidates – women’s disenchantment with the way President Obama is handling the threat of the so-called Islamic State.

The race could come down to what’s highest on women’s minds come election day  – social and economic issues such as abortion and pay equity, or… national security.

At what was billed, somewhat generically, as a “women’s event” in Exeter last week, Jeanne Shaheen made clear who she believes will make the difference in what is shaping up to be a tightening race.

“This race is going to be won by those of us who turn out, and if women turn out, I’m going to win,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen listed the issues which she says will win the women’s vote: her support for pay equity, for abortion rights, even, from back when she was governor, funding she pushed for kindergarten.  And in response to a question from her mostly female audience, she focused on one particular group that reliably votes Democratic... yet isn’t so reliable about actually showing up at the polls in years, such as this one, that do not feature a presidential election.

“It’s those unmarried women, those non-college educated women who we need to make sure come out and vote. And we need to let them know what’s at stake in this election,” she said.

Recent voter surveys demonstrate why Shaheen might be anxious to reach such voters. They put Brown even with her – or within striking distance among voters in general. But they also found that women favored Shaheen by better than 10 percentage points – one poll released today giver her an edge of more than 20 points among women.

That’s “the gender gap.” First observed at the national level in the 1980s, the gender gap tends to favor Democrats, and it could be pretty hard for Brown to overcome. 

Concord resident Joellen Isabelle is a Shaheen supporter, and a supporter of abortion rights. She provides a pithy sumup of why the gender gap could be hard for Brown to overcome.

“I’m not impressed (by Brown),” she said.  “He doesn’t have a uterus: he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Isabelle’s support for Shaheen does go beyond simple anatomy. She says Shaheen will do a better job protecting women’s access to contraception, to health care, and funding for mental health treatment. And she doesn’t trust Republicans with a budget, either.

But with a race that conceivably could be decided by a percentage point or two – fewer than 10,000 votes -- it’s worth Brown’s time to try to narrow the gender gap. Last week he released an online ad, titled “Women for Brown”.

ONLINE AD: “You know I’m the mother of a nine-year-old and a six year old and I support Scott Brown…”

That’s Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s Republican senator. Ayotte obliterated the gender gap four years ago, when she handily beat her male Democratic opponent, Paul Hodes. She was favored by 55 percent of women. (Although it is worth noting that women with no children at home were one of the few groups that stuck with the Democrat – the kind of voter Shaheen wants to make sure turns out this year.)

And while Ayotte may help Brown bridge the gap, he appears to be working another angle too: women’s unhappiness with President Obama’s foreign policy, unhappiness that’s beginning to show up in national surveys.

“We saw this phenomenon back in 2004, with what was known as the security moms,” said Patrick Murray, who directs the Polling Institute at Monmouth University

Murray says what happened to John Kerry in 2004 is hurting President Obama now:  The president’s getting increasingly negative reviews from women who are concerned about the threat posed by Islamic radicals abroad. Murray’s watching three close Senate races, including New Hampshire’s, which pit a Democratic woman against a Republican man.

“The Republican is looking at a fairly close race, the ability to catch up, but the Democratic nominee has a double-digit lead among women,” Murray said.  “And the question is how do you cut into that lead and it appears that they are going to use this terrorism scar.”

Here’s a salvo from Brown – one of many he’s launched in personal appearances and through advertising.

BROWN AD: “Radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country. President Obama and Senator Shaheen seem confused about the nature of this threat. Not me.”

Pollster Patrick Murray says ads like that here and in other battleground states, such as North Carolina and Georgia, feature words and phrases specifically tailored to undermine the Democratic candidates’ credibility, based on their gender.

“They are using a language that has subtle gender clues – ‘confused, soft, turning a blind eye.’ Things that they hope will play into prejudices about a woman not being able to be a strong leader or take decisive action,” Murray said. “It’s all about turning these women voters against their fellow-women who are running for Senate.”

And whether it’s a reflection of national trends, a response to Brown’s campaigning, or a direct response to Shaheen’s senate record, there are women in New Hampshire, women like Amie Lupabngo, who voted for her in the past, who are voting for Brown this time. 

“I voted for her, but I’m changing my mind about that,” Lupango said. She says she agrees with Brown on the need to secure the country’s borders. And she’s worried about the way Obama is handling the Islamic State.

“He’s dilly-dallying on his response to them, and he’s just not responding aggressively,”   Lupango said.

The tug-of-war over women’s votes continues this week. Jeanne Shaheen on Monday named her women’s PR campaign “A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust.” And on the other side, a super PAC headed by national security hawk John Bolton, the former U.N.  Ambassador, has filed papers showing he is buying some quarter million dollars’ worth of ads to support Scott Brown.

Related Content