The First Congressional District Republican primary field grew to five candidates with the addition of Gail Huff Brown, the wife of former U.S Senator Scott Brown and a Boston TV news fixture for 17 years.

Huff Brown told Seacoast Current that her life experience will help her make tough but compassionate decisions in Washington, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to anger in the United States and shared her husband's role in the campaign.

The age of the announced Republican candidates - Julian Acciard, 33, state Representative Tim Baxter, 23, Karoline Leavitt, 24 and Matt Mowers, 31, makes Huff Brown the oldest candidate in the race at 58. While she was considering her candidacy over the summer speculation was that one of the reasons she was being encouraged to enter was that she would be the "adult" in the race.

Huff Brown had nothing but praise for her opponents calling them "wonderful people" who are indeed adults.

"Yes I am much older and I do think that does say something about my life experience. I just have life experiences that they haven't had yet. I do think that life experience is such an important read that goes into making tough decisions for New Hampshire in Congress," Huff Brown told Seacoast Current.

Family, Journalistic Background Also a Plus

Conventional wisdom was her husband was considering a run when he resigned in August as CEO and Dean of the Faculty of New England Law in Boston and revived his political action committee. The attention turned to Huff Brown when she filed with the Federal Election Commission  and tweeted that if she believed she could run a winning campaign she would move forward.

Huff Brown said there wasn't an "aha" moment that influenced her decision but rather hundreds of conversations with people from all parts of the district that had a common theme.

"I keep hearing the same things over and over. They want somebody to go to Washington to represent New Hampshire who has life experience, who understands foreign policy, who has the background that I have as a journalist," Huff Brown said. "I know what it's like to dig for the truth. I know what it's like to investigate and find out what's really going on. I know how to communicate that back to people."

As a mother and grandmother Huff Brown said she also brings compassion and perspective to the job. She is the mother of two daughters, singer Ayla Brown and Dr. Arianna Brown Hendry, a veterinarian and a grandmother.

Scott Brown will not have an official role with the campaign, Huff Brown said.

"You will see him at things because he's my husband and I love him and certainly I want him by my side. He's my biggest cheerleader but he's not going to have an official role with the campaign. I'm standing on my own two feet,"  Huff Brown said.

"People are angry out there"

The First Congressional District race is considered to be one of key races in the 2022 midterm election which Huff Brown said speaks to the belief that  Washington is "broken."

"They see what's going on there. They see the Biden-Pelosi-Pappas train wreck and I'm sure they're as passionate as I am that they want to see some serious change. They want to see our country move in a different direction,"  Huff Brown said.

Huff Brown is no fan of Biden's and laid a number of issues at his feet including the increases in the cost of gas and groceries, leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan and "spending our great grandchildren's money."

She sees Biden's $3.5 trillion American Families Plan spending plan as a step towards socialism and government interference.

"I've been so disheartened by seeing the kind of anger Americans have right now with the election result, with the riots that took place over the summertime and that political discord.  Certainly, there have been lots of issues in large cities with violence and defunding the police. That's also infuriated people," Huff Brown said.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also to blame for the anger as she said it has left people isolated, unable to see family and in many cases unemployed.

"I think that leads to a very, very serious problem. Clinical depression in America is three times what it was two years ago. That says something about the general nature of our public and just a feeling of being lost and the isolation that people feel," Huff Brown said.

Scott Brown (right) and wife Gail Huff
Scott Brown (right) and wife Gail Huff (Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)
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Connections to Trump

Two of the candidates in the race have touted their connections to President Donald Trump. Leavitt worked in the White House press office while Mowers was a senior advisor. Brown's husband also served as Trump's Ambassador to New Zealand during the Trump administration.

Does it matter to the voters of the First Congressional District?

"I know that they very much support the America First agenda that President Trump pushed. When Scott and I were in New Zealand for four years that's what we did day in and day out," Huff Brown said. "Every single day we were battling and fighting for America, for our values, our trade systems, for our foreign policy, pushing back against China, pushing back against the bad actors in that region. There's no question Scott and I have worked very hard for the Trump administration."

Huff Brown said she believes people still like Trump and see him as a leader who should run for president in 2024. But she wouldn't go so far as to support potential Trump candidacy for the White House.

"My name is going to be on the ballot in 2022 and I'm really trying to keep my vision there" adding that the focus needs first be on taking back the House.

Scott Brown in told CNN that Trump "bears responsibility" for the January 6 insurrection at the Capital.

"I think his presidency was diminished as a result of this, and I think he's paying a price. He's been impeached twice. He was impeached for those actions," Brown said.

Lewandowski Factor

Mowers said that Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski would have an unspecified role with his campaign but is facing sexual harassment allegations for his behavior at a Las Vegas fundraiser towards the wife of a donor. So far Mowers has not addressed the issue and Lewandowski remains a part of the campaign.

"I wouldn't want someone with serious allegations like that on my campaign. I can say that if true they are very, very disturbing. I can't say what Matt should do because I'm running my own campaign but I would not want someone with allegations like that on campaign," Huff Brown said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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