Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is launching an exploratory committee to run for Senate in New Hampshire, a GOP source familiar with his plans confirmed to The Hill, giving Republicans their best shot at taking down Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE (D) this fall.

The decision caps months of reporters and pundits attempting to read the tea leaves of Brown’s moves in the state, and confirms that Brown did in fact have his eyes on the Senate when he took a shirtless dip in the frigid waters of the Atlantic earlier this year.

But questions remain: when and how will he ramp a campaign into high gear, while he’s got a trip to Iowa on the books in early April?

Who will his team be? Sources across New Hampshire and Massachusetts dropped a handful of potential names, with Ryan Williams, the former Mitt Romney and New Hampshire GOP spokesman who has remained in constant contact with Brown, cropping up most often. But they all agreed that, as one operative put it, it’s slim pickings when it comes to campaign staff still available for work, as much of the state’s consultant class is already tied up on campaigns or in government.

How will he handle the GOP base there? Brown has already faced protests from pro-gun activists; will that discontent grow, or will the three other Republicans in the state splinter the anti-Brown vote and deliver him an easy win?

Will we again see the famous brown barn jacket and GMC pickup truck that featured prominently in his Massachusetts bids as icons of his everyman appeal?

The one question finally answered on Thursday: Brown appears to be issuing a battle cry in the Granite State.


AR-SEN (PRYOR): Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the Koch brothers, is spending another $700,000 against Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.), hitting him for ObamaCare’s failure to let everyone keep their healthcare plans.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerPoll: Almost two-thirds of Texas voters support legal recreational marijuana House, Senate GOP compete for cash Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators want info on 'stingray' surveillance in DC | Bills to secure energy infrastructure advance | GOP lawmaker offers cyber deterrence bill MORE’s (R-Colo.) former chief of staff Chris Hansen, who stepped down last year to manage Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoFamily, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush Lawmakers propose boosting park funding with oil money Lawmakers trade barbs, torch Trump at DC soiree MORE’s (R-W.Va.) Senate race, will return to lead Gardner’s challenge to Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Democratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE (D-Colo.).

IL-SEN (DURBIN): GOP Senate candidate and dairy magnate Jim Oberweis is down in Florida for his wife’s birthday, just days before his primary to face Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHannity, Kimmel, Farrow among Time's '100 Most Influential' The Hill's Morning Report: 200 Days to the Election Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination MORE (D-Ill.).

IA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa) leads all of his GOP opponents in a new poll from Quinnipiac University, most by double digits.

LA-SEN: A new ad from the Democratic Senate Majority PAC hits Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns You want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible MORE’s (D-La.) main Republican opponent, for his support from Koch Brothers-backed groups.

MI-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) sought to tie former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) to a controversial new Michigan law that prohibits insurance companies from covering abortion as a standard feature in their healthcare plans. “I am deeply concerned about the consequences of a special interest agenda, like this law, that makes things tougher for our middle class and those aspiring to get there. Michigan cannot afford to have a U.S. Senator like my opponent, Former National Republican Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land who would vote for this discriminatory, anti-middle class measure if it came up in Washington,” Peters said in a release.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon (R) was ordered by a judge to pay $455,000 to two investors in a failed tech start-up company he helped promote after the court found he misled them. Brannon is appealing the court’s verdict.

NE-SEN: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Midland University President Ben Sasse for Senate in Nebraska over former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. In her endorsement, the former VP nominee called Sasse the “clear conservative choice” in the race, citing a National Review cover story that featured Sasse and labeled him “Nebraska’s ObamaCare Nemesis.”

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report MORE’s (R-Ky.) primary challenger Matt Bevin took advantage of the Web ad of stock McConnell footage the senator’s campaign had posted on his website to give outside groups access to stately shots of him for their own ads. His campaign subtitled the video with its take on what McConnell’s thinking (Hint: mostly violent thoughts, mostly against conservatives).


CA-31 (OPEN): Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) and attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes (D) won an unusual dual endorsement from the SEIU, a clear snub for former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.). On the GOP side, San Bernardino city councilman John Valdivia dropped out of the race, clearing the way for former Miller staffer Lesley Gooch to be the GOP standard-bearer.

CA-33 (OPEN): State Sen. Ted Lieu (D) — one of the two front-runners in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), along with former Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel (D) — won the endorsement of the state’s SEIU chapter, boosting him in the race. Twenty-one Democrats have filed for the heavily Democratic seat.

FL-19 (OPEN): The Naples Daily News reports on the troubled history of the wheel and brake company that Florida Republican House candidate Curt Clawson led as chief executive. According to the paper, one of the company’s plants was cited for safety problems that eventually resulted in the death of a worker, and the company laid off more than 1,300 workers and closed seven plants in the U.S. while Clawson was at the helm. Clawson has pitched his business background as a main selling point in his campaign for resigned Rep. Trey Radel’s (R-Fla.) seat.

ID-2 (SIMPSON): Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) is out with his first TV ad, blasting Tea Party opponent Bryan Smith (R) as a "personal injury lawyer" and touting his conservative credentials.

NJ-3 (OPEN): Republican House candidate Steve Lonegan, who previously ran a colorful but ultimately failed campaign against New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D), said that in the GOP primary for the state’s open 3rd District, “Republicans are going to want to put their best foot forward – that’s me.” A PolitickerNJ poll showed Lonegan taking 41 percent support, while his two Republican opponents were 30 points or more behind him. Lonegan said he toppled Booker in the district when he ran for Senate, which proves he’s the best Republican to take down expected Democratic nominee Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard.

NY-21 (OPEN): Former Bush White House adviser Elise Stefanik launched her first radio ad on Thursday, which touts her as “the only conservative in the race” for New York’s open 21st District. She’s facing investment fund manager Matt Doheny, who is making his third run for the seat, and the two have split GOP endorsements in the primary. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf, a documentary filmmaker and political neophyte, finally ended his silence and conducted interviews with the press, pledging to focus his campaign on the economy.

WV-3 (RAHALL): State Sen. Evan Jenkins, Rep. Nick RahallNick Joe RahallWe shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms MORE’s (D-W.Va.) Republican challenger, is launching a robocall to push back on a recent super-PAC ad that touts Rahall’s record on coal. The robocall, obtained first by The Hill, features a coal miner, Republican state Del. Randy Smith, who says he’s “insulted by Nick Rahall’s dishonest new ad.”

2016 WATCH

CLINTON UP BIG IN IOWA: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGeorge HW Bush wears 'book socks' to Barbara Bush's funeral to honor her passion for literacy Obamas, Clintons to attend funeral of Barbara Bush Hillary Clinton to fundraise in DC for public charter high school MORE has a big lead over her potential 2016 GOP foes in Iowa, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

PUBLIC THINKS CHRISTIE, CLINTON KNEW: Most people do not believe New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) or former secretary of State Hillary Clinton when it comes to controversies that have happened under their watch, according to a new Bloomberg poll.

HUCKABEE TO GOP: DON'T ABANDON ABORTION: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said the GOP can’t abandon abortion as a major campaign issue, saying talking about it is “how we win elections.”

DEMS COOL TO RAND RUNNING DOUBLE: A Kentucky Senate committee passed a bill that allows candidates in the state to run for both president or vice president and a U.S. House or Senate seat at the same time, a development towards removing a hurdle to Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Overnight Defense: House to begin work on defense policy bill | Panel to vote Monday on Pompeo | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump appeals decision blocking suspected combatant's transfer MORE’s (R-Ky.) potential 2016 presidential run. The bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, however, with House Speaker Greg Stumbo saying last week that "we kind of take the position over here that a man (who) can't decide which office he wants to run for isn't fit to hold either office."


MORNING IN AMERICA FOR MORNING JOE? MSNBC host Joe Scarborough will be included on a GOP presidential survey that will be conducted at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H., this weekend, along with GOP presidential prospects both likely — Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules MORE (Texas) — and obscure — former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

 —This piece was corrected to reflect the fact that SEIU endorsed both Aguilar and Gomez Reyes in CA-31.

Please send tips and comments to Campaign Editor Jessica Taylor,; and Campaign Staff Writers Cameron Joseph,; and Alexandra Jaffe, Follow us on Twitter: @JessicaTaylor @cam_joseph and @ajjaffe.