Scott Brown no longer under contract with Fox News
Ex-senator mum on whether he will run in N.H.
Former US senator Scott Brown, a frequent presence on Fox News, is no longer under contract with the widely watched cable station, a development sure to fan flames of speculation about his potential US Senate bid in New Hampshire.
“He is currently out of contract with the network,” a Fox News spokeswoman told the Globe late Tuesday night following an inquiry.
Fox News announced in February 2013 that the 24-hour news channel had signed Brown to offer political commentary on a variety of programs.
When pressed Tuesday night for more details on Brown’s status, whether he is leaving to run for office or whether his contract was up, the spokeswoman repeated that he is “out of contract with the network” and did not provide any further detail.
In December, another spokeswoman for the network said that if Brown authorized an exploratory committee to be formed for a run, his on-air agreement would be terminated.
Without a network contract, Brown would have a clearer path for a run, if he chooses to take on Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat and former New Hampshire governor who was elected to the US Senate in 2008.
Brown did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment late Tuesday.
The Fox News development came on the same day the New Hampshire GOP announced that he is set to speak at the high-profile Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua in March.
Brown, who recently moved his primary residence to Rye, N.H., will also be an “event sponsor,” donating $5,000 from his PAC to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, its chairwoman said.
The conference, focused on the future of the Republican Party and expanding its base across the country, will draw party faithful and big-name speakers. That makes Brown’s scheduled appearance particularly noteworthy.
New Hampshire Republican strategist Rich Killion said the two-day conference, hosted by the state GOP and expected to draw activists from Virginia to Maine, offered Brown “a good opportunity for him to talk to the core of the party.”
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, US Representative Peter King of New York, and former US senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, all considered potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, are scheduled to speak at the conference, according to its website.
Other boldface names set to give remarks include US Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and MSNBC host and former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough.
State GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn said the event “is not a 2016 cattle call,” but rather an opportunity for activists to hear from top Republicans, learn from grass-roots trainers, and join engaging panels.
Panel discussions include “The Republican Alternative to Obamacare” and “First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary Campaign Strategy,” the website said.
Speaking before the Fox News development was public, Horn did not telegraph whether she had a sense of Brown’s political ambitions.
But she did say she has heard from Granite State Republicans who hope he jumps into the race.
“As I have been out and about and hearing from activists, there has been a tremendous amount of support expressed by them for a Scott Brown candidacy” for US Senate, she said.
Brown was a frequent presence at New Hampshire GOP events and donated to the state party in 2013; Horn said he gave $10,000 from his PAC. But the former senator has maintained a much lower profile in the new year, frustrating some Republican activists who hope he soon makes a decision one way or the other.
Although the filing deadline to get on the primary ballot is in June, they insist that for a campaign to be viable, it would need to begin months earlier.
Brown, who won an upset special election victory for US Senate in Massachusetts in January 2010, was unseated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012.
A lawyer, he registered to vote in Rye on Dec. 23 of last year, the town clerk has said.
While he has remained coy about a Senate bid, Brown, tweeted Sunday about joining the rock band Cheap Trick at a concert in Lynn.
“Just played guitar with Cheap Trick. It was sooooooo fun,” he tweeted.
What he intends to do remains a great mystery to many Republicans in New Hampshire.
“I don’t think anyone honestly knows what his intentions are,” Killion said. “He really moves to the beat of his own drummer.”