Senate races

Scott Brown blasts GOP Senate campaign arm for ‘brush-off’

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has tough words for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in his new book, Against All Odds.

Brown is highly critical of the committee for not supporting his 2009 Senate run in the early stages of the campaign. His criticism is aimed at the committee in general and not specifically at NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas).

The senator, who was the surprise winner of the special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) seat, wrote about going to Washington early in the campaign to meet with party officials.

“We had already learned that the Massachusetts special election wasn’t even up on the senatorial committee’s web site, so we were prepared for the meeting to be a waste,” he wrote.

{mosads}Brown recalls one committee staffer was at the meeting and gave him about five minutes, ending with, “We wish you the best of luck and we’ll be in touch.”

Brown wrote: “He might have saved himself two minutes if he had just said ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.’ “

The senator notes that later that evening he was at an NRSC reception with Cornyn, other Senate candidates, party officials and donors. Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card introduced Brown to Cornyn and urged the chairman to mention Brown’s race in his remarks to the crowd.

Brown recalls of the reception: “I made sure I shook hands with nearly every person in that room. Most people didn’t even know there was a race in Massachusetts. It was almost embarrassing; and we couldn’t get anyone to commit.”

One of his campaign aides tried again with the NRSC, he notes, but was given “the brush-off. Come back when you have some real numbers, they said; for now, we’ll be monitoring the race.”

He recalls his campaign didn’t hear from the committee until right before Christmas, when it had a poll showing Brown just 13 points behind his opponent, Democrat Martha Coakley. At that point, the NRSC offered him phone banks and technical support while the Republican National Committee put $20,000 into the race.

“We gladly took it,” Brown writes. The senator also conceeds that, in the final weeks, the committee gave him a “huge boost” by setting up phone banks and bringing in volunteers from all over the country.

Brown’s portray of the Senate campaign is essentially that of a one-man effort that took down the Democrat’s anointed candidate without any help from the national party or media attention. He recalls his struggles with fundraising, media attention and trying to being taken seriously as a candidate. He notes that when he was considering the race even his wife, Gail, had doubts, and his consultants didn’t believe in him, telling him the race was a good chance to widen his name recognition for a future run at state office.

But “I never bought into that thinking,” he writes. “I worked until I dropped.”

He does give a lot of credit to his campaign staff and remembers the Republicans who supported him from the start.

Two people in particular who get a lot of praise from Brown are Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).

McCain met with Brown early on, before Brown had caught national attention. “John McCain endorsed me and wrote a check to my campaign which, given our struggles to raise cash, was a huge boost,” Brown writes.

And “Mitt Romney had endorsed me early on and his political action committee wrote the first big check to my campaign.”

On a humorous note, he also recounts the congratulatory voicemail he got from Vice President Joe Biden after he won: “Scotter, this is Joe, Joe Biden, the vice president,” Biden said, according to Brown’s account. “I guess I should call you senator. Your ran a hell of a race. This is Joe Biden, the vice president. Hell of a race. Congratulations.”

The memoir is mostly personal with the majority of the book focusing on his childhood and the struggles he faced growing up. Only the last few chapters detail his Senate run and discuss his political agenda. Against All Odds came out Tuesday.

— This post was updated at 6:08 p.m.

Tags Joe Biden John Cornyn John McCain

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