By Ted Siefer
NASHUA, N.H., Nov 4 (Reuters) - Scott Brown, a Republican who stunned Massachusetts Democrats in 2010 when he won the U.S. Senate seat that Edward Kennedy had held for half a century, could notch another upset on Tuesday as he takes on Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
Polls show a dead heat between Shaheen, a first-term senator and former governor, and Brown, who had been a little-known state legislator before his surprise 2010 win.
Brown lost his first re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren in 2012 and moved to New Hampshire early this year. He has sought to tie Shaheen closely to President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in this state, while Shaheen has depicted her rival as out of touch on women's issues.
Polls have shown Brown, 55, closing in on Shaheen, 67, since he disclosed in March he was considering a run.
A WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll released on Sunday showed the two in a statistical tie, with 49 percent of 757 likely voters saying they planned to vote for Shaheen and 48 percent for Brown. When asked who they thought would win the race, 55 percent bet on Shaheen, with just 30 percent predicting a Brown victory.
"We don't now what will happen to him in the election, but I think that either way he is an up-and-comer in the national Republican Party," said Neil Levesque, executive director at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. "He's done better than most people thought he would."
Both Brown and Shaheen staged a campaign blitz over the past few days, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flying to New Hampshire to stump for Shaheen over the weekend.
"Either we're all in this together, or we're all in this on our own," Clinton, seen as the Democratic front-runner if she enters the 2016 presidential race, told Shaheen supporters.
FIRST PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY STATE
Both parties see the seat as critical to taking a majority in the Senate, which Democrats now control. But the big names in both parties have an extra incentive to travel to the state, which holds the country's first presidential nominating primary.
Potential Republican White House hopefuls, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, visited to endorse Brown.
Brown had a moderate record in Massachusetts and has made some headway with Democratic voters in New Hampshire, polls show.
He found one convert on Sunday at a sports bar in Nashua, where Brown moved through a crowd of fans glued to a National Football League game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.
Paul McNutt, 62, described himself as a Democrat who had lost faith in the Obama administration and planned to vote a straight Republican ticket on Tuesday.
"I'm looking for a change," McNutt said. "I don't like the way the state is going. I don't like the way the country is going." (Reporting by Ted Siefer; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Peter Cooney)