WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will not run in the Massachusetts special election to replace John Kerry, multiple outlets reported Friday. The Senate confirmed Kerry as secretary of state Wednesday.
The conservative-leaning Boston Herald was the first to be told that Scott wasn't running. "U are the first to know," he sent in a text message.
Brown released a statement Friday outlining his reasons. "Over these past few weeks I have given serious thought about the possibility of running again, as events have created another vacancy requiring another special election," he said. "I have received a lot of encouragement from friends and supporters to become a candidate, and my competitive instincts were leading in the same direction.
"Even so, I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me."
After he lost to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, many expected that Brown would run for the seat vacated by Kerry. Republicans made an all-out push to get him to run, because he easily would have been the strongest candidate against a Democrat. However, Brown would have had to run for reelection again in 2014 for a full term, meaning that he would have had four elections in four years.
The speculation for Brown goes to the 2014 gubernatorial race, which he did not rule out in the statement. Massachusetts voters have been more receptive to elect Republicans to state office than federal office, and Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has said that he will retire at the end of his term.
Brown also drew attention the week prior to his announcement when he unleashed a flurry of incoherent text messages early Saturday morning, aimed at his Twitter critics. "Your brilliant Matt," "Whatever," "Bqhatevwr," he tweeted.
Brown's exit leaves the Republican bench for Senate wide open. Former Gov. Bill Weld (R) moved back to the state from New York, but the once-popular governor suffered a seven-point defeat to Kerry, then a senator, in 1996. Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) hasn't ruled out a run, but she served with former Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who is tremendously unpopular in the state.
On the Democratic side, Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey are battling for the nomination. Markey has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and top Democrats in the state including Kerry, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Victoria Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Lynch is banking on support from organized labor to propel him to victory, despite being against abortion rights and voting against President Barack Obama's health care law.
Lynch, who had been hitting Brown Thursday in his campaign rollout, released a conciliatory statement Friday after news that Brown would not be running. “I understand Scott Brown’s decision. He has basically been campaigning non-stop for three years. It’s perfectly understandable that he wouldn’t want to undertake another campaign. I wish all the best to Scott and his family," he said.
The primary is April 30 and the general election is June 25.