Gail Huff Brown Closer to NH First Congressional District Run
The crowded First Congressional District Republican primary could soon have to find room for what could be its most well known name, former Boston TV reporter Gail Huff Brown.
Huff, part of WCVB's morning news for 17 years and wife of former U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. It allows the creation of the "Gail Huff Brown for Congress " campaign committee which can raise funds even before any kind of announcement.
"I am a conservative working mother, military spouse and new grandmother. I’ve lived through tough races, and I know what it takes to win. I’ve been humbled by the support of family, friends, – and if I believe I can lead the winning campaign, I will move forward," she tweeted after the first report by WMUR of her filing the statement.
Julian Acciard, 33, state Representative Tim Baxter, 23, and Karoline Leavitt, 24, have already entered the race and were joined this week by Matt Mowers, 31, who lost to Democrat incumbent Chris Pappas in the 2020 general election.
Dean Spiliotes, SNHU Civic Scholar and the founder of NH Political Capital, told Seacoast Current Huff Brown will likely be best known in Republican areas along the Massachusetts border.
"In terms of her political orientation other than making some general assumptions that she's his wife and they walk a similar political path together it's hard to know exactly what her particular entry into the primary will be," Spiliotes said.
At age 58, Huff Brown would be the oldest candidate in the race and some younger voters may not remember her "Eyeopener" days.
"It's been a little while now so I don't know how much familiarity there will be with her certainly not as a political entity. Other than being Brown's wife and campaigning with him when he ran for Senate she's never really had an independent identity here,"
Who's The 'Trumpiest?'
Two of the candidates in the race have touted their connections to former President Donald Trump's administration and are very "hardcore Trump," according to Spiliotes, who says they have been antagonistic towards President Joe Biden and Democrats in general.
Leavitt was an Assistant Press Secretary under Kayleigh McEnany and Communications Director for New York Rep. Elise Stefanik. After Biden announced his vaccination mandate for companies with more than 100 employees Leavitt's tweet included the message "DO NOT COMPLY" in all caps.
Mowers received Trump's endorsement in both the primary and general election, and served as a senior advisor to Trump. He also worked in the administration of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who gave Trump his first major endorsement in 2016 after finishing poorly in the New Hampshire presidential primary.
Senior Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski will be part of the Mowers campaign although his role has not yet been disclosed.
Both Christie and Brown have distanced themselves from Trump after the January 6 insurrection at in the Capitol. At a speech Thursday night at the Reagan Presidential Library, Christie took a swipe at Trump supporters who continue to believe the 2020 presidential election was "stolen."
"No man, no woman, no matter what office they've held or wealth they've acquired, are worthy of blind faith or obedience,” Christie said. "If the requirement in today's politics for getting your support requires bending to the will of any one person, rather than advocating ideas for the good of all people, then count me out."
Brown, who endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential caucus, told CNN that Trump "bears responsibility" for the insurrection.
"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.
Spiliotes thinks for all the talk of who has the strongest connection to Trump, Huff Brown could appeal to moderate Republicans not quite as fervent in the support of the former president but who will still vote in the primary.
"I don't sense she'll be competing for the title of 'Trumpiest' in the primary," Spiliotes said.
"She may be someone who comes at it from a little different perspective maybe focus more on the moderates and independents. We don't really know yet, all we do know is Scott Brown. He's someone who's going to have access to fundraising, he's been trying to build himself as a kingmaker with these presidential primary barbeques," Spiliotes said, noting Brown has not run for office since his Senate run against Jeanne Shaheen in 2014 and the party has changed.
On the other hand, if support for Trump is a strong factor among GOP voters it perhaps could be the wrong time for Huff Brown.
"This is an interesting wildcard. I'm just fascinated to see if maybe it's the wrong time or maybe they have a sense there's enough people in the party who want some option other than a hard-core Trump accolade," Spiliotes said.