Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who snatched the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat with an improbable special election victory in January, has turned down an invitation to attend a Sarah Palin-headlined tea party rally this week, the Boston Herald reports.
Some suspect that Brown may be seeking to distance himself from the enthusiastic -- and at times unrestrained -- Tea Party members who helped secure his Senate win.
"He wants to mainstream himself before the election," Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist, told the Herald.
Brown's office, however, said that the Senator was busy in Washington and could not leave to attend the rally that is scheduled to take place on Boston Common on Wednesday.
Brown's relationship with the tea party has appeared tentative in the past. During his election campaign, the future senator managed to embrace and neglect the passionate grassroots movement almost simultaneously, claiming ignorance about the movement only days after holding a "Friends of the Tea Party" breakfast.
Scott Brown's connection with Sarah Palin has been similarly tenuous. A few weeks after his election, Brown claimed that he'd "never met [Palin], she's never contacted us and vice versa," a statement that seemed to be contradicted by earlier reports from Palin spokespeople that she'd spoken with Brown on the night of the election to congratulate him on his victory. Apparently, Scott Brown had forgotten about the call altogether.