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Keller @ Large: Scott Brown Running In NH ‘Looks Like Real Thing’

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NASHUA, N.H. (CBS) — It appears former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is working on a U.S. Senate bid in New Hampshire.

Brown will speak Friday afternoon at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua and he’s expected to launch an exploratory committee to challenge New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Since his 2012 loss to Elizabeth Warren, Brown has been mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. Senate and governor in Massachusetts, and even possibly president.

WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller says this time “it looks like the real thing.”

“It’s certainly going to shake up that race, big time,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday. “He’s got an uphill battle. There’s no two ways about it.”

Brown cancelled a scheduled trip to Iowa that was set for early April, yet another sign he’s serious about New Hampshire, where he recently relocated after previously having a summer home there.

“He’s well-known, a celebrity candidate and according to all the polling, he’s the clear choice of New Hampshire Republicans,” Keller said.

“But beating an incumbent like Jeanne Shaheen, once again he’s running up against a popular, well-financed female candidate in a part of the country where female candidates have been doing well lately. He’s got his work cut out for him, no question about it.”

Spending should be big in this race.

“You’ve already seen close to $400,000 spent in Scott Brown attack ads over the last couple of months by Democrats nationally and they’ve managed to drive up his negatives and widen Shaheen’s lead in the most recent polling.”

Keller said Brown can certainly expect more of the same.

“Can he raise comparable resources to complete in what would be a very bloody and expensive political TV advertising battle?”

“He was able to raise big bucks in 2010 in his big upset win because he caught a national wave, federal health care reform was a huge, burning issue,” Keller said.

“He was able to reclaim some of that fundraising momentum in 2012 because Elizabeth Warren became, if you will, the poster child for liberal politics, the godmother of the ‘Occupy’ movement.”

But Keller said there are a lot of hard core conservatives who don’t trust Brown.

“They think of him as a “RINO” – Republican in name only, (they) don’t like his moderate positions on a number of social issues for instance,” he said.

“If the money doesn’t materialize this time around, yet another reason to think he’s got an uphill battle against what will be a well-funded incumbent in Jeanne Shaheen.”

Keller believes Brown will be “off and running” if he can get the money during this exploratory phase.

“If for some reason he does not, you might see this campaign die in the starting blocks, I wouldn’t rule it out entirely,” Keller said.

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