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Shaheen wants to limit outside cash in N.H. Senate race

Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Mandel NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is calling on newly announced Republican challenger Scott Brown to sign the same pact in New Hampshire that helped prevent outside groups from pouring millions of dollars into his last Massachusetts Senate election.

In a letter sent Saturday, less than 24 hours after the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts entered the race, Shaheen said she ‘‘very much admired the People’s Pledge’’ that Brown signed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Brown lost his Senate seat to Warren.

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‘‘I believe it limited the influence of outside groups and allowed the people’s voices to be heard,’’ Shaheen wrote. She asked Brown to make a similar pledge this year to give New Hampshire voters ‘‘the assurance that their voices will not be drowned out by third-party expenditures.’’

Brown would not comment on whether he would agree to a pledge but said Saturday that Shaheen is on a multiple-city West Coast fundraising swing that he says will provide money to third-party groups for more outside negative ads against him.

‘‘It’s hard to view Jeanne Shaheen’s actions as anything other than hypocritical and self-serving,’’ Brown said. ‘‘The people of New Hampshire can see through the Washington-style game she is playing.’’

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The challenge comes as national outside groups gear up to send a river of money into a New Hampshire Senate contest that could be the most expensive in state history.

Brown on Friday night formally launched an exploratory committee to enter the Senate campaign during a Republican conference in Nashua, ending months of speculation about his intentions. While Brown has yet to file formal candidacy papers, his decision all but assures the GOP will have a top-tier contender in a November election that Shaheen was once expected to win easily.

The Washington-based Republican ally American Crossroads immediately announced plans to invest $650,000 in a television advertising campaign against Shaheen beginning next week. And even before Brown joined the race, outside groups on both sides spent more than $1 million in recent months on television advertising to influence the New Hampshire Senate contest.

Brown was to meet with voters in New Hampshire’s North Country on Saturday.

The deal would require both candidates to donate half the cost of any outside group advertising campaign to a charity of the opposing candidate’s choosing. The deal was credited with preventing the crush of negative advertising in the 2012 Massachusetts race that flooded airwaves in races in other states.

Shaheen included a signed copy of the pledge in her letter to Brown and asked him to sign and return it as soon as possible.

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