The polls had predicted this race would be tight, and for a time last night, even after media outlets had declared Jeanne Shaheen the winner, Scott Brown briefly held a slim lead. But by nights end, it was Shaheen and her backers savoring a win in a contest party leaders here and in Washington wanted dearly.
“Tonight, tonight, the people of NH chose to put NH first.”
From the moment Scott Brown moved to NH he signaled an interest in returning to the Senate from the state where he’d long owned a vacation house and lived as a small child, Shaheen and Democrats derided him Brown as an opportunist. Brown and his allies, meanwhile, cast Shaheen, a former Senate colleague, who has now won statewide election in NH 5 of 6 tries, as little more than a toady to President Obama.
Voters were bombarded with these messages for weeks. All told, more than $46 million was poured into this race, the most expensive in state history.
In his concession speech , Scott Brown said the voters had spoken, and he’s got the picture.
“You’ve got no business in politics unless you respect the judgement of the people. You’ve got to take it either way. I accept the decision of the voters and I have already offered my sincerest congratulations and good wishes to Senator Shaheen."
Brown shot to national attention when he won the Massachusetts Senate seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy.
In 2012 he lost to Elizabeth Warren. Last night Brown called himself lucky to live in NH.
He also said he was glad republicans elsewhere achieved something he was fighting for, to flip the US Senate to GOP control.
“And regardless of what happened here tonight, here is one thing that did come true Harry Reid is minority leader."
Jeanne Shaheen, for her part, listed priorities -- a energy policy based on efficiency and limiting fossil fuels, a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work and abortion rights – that are unlikely to be shared by the senate’s new GOP majority. But she also promised to seek for common ground.
"I will work with anyone in the senate, democrat, republican independent, to get things done to help NH’s working families and small businesses."
Scott Brown’s future remains a work in progress, and likely the subject of continued speculation.
Prior to getting into this race, Brown indicated to voters in Iowa that he hadn’t ruled out a future presidential run.
Last night Brown indicated ambitions a bit more modest.
“I’m going to go have a beer and go get some rest and hit the gym tomorrow and play the guitar and spend some time with the family."
Ambitions well within his grasp.