Some have dismissed talk of former senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) moving to New Hampshire to challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) next year.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is not one of them.
“He knows of our interest in him pursuing this,” said Moran, who as head of the party’s election efforts controls millions of dollars in assistance for Senate candidates.
Moran dismissed speculation that Brown has merely been flirting with a run.
“I don’t think Scott Brown is just fooling around,” he said.
Moran said Brown has not given him a timetable for his decision, but he added that, with the yearlong countdown to the 2014 election starting this week, the GOP is eager to have its candidates in place soon.
Brown has remained coy, showing up frequently at events in the state and taking pointed shots at Shaheen while declining to reveal his intentions. For months he has been emphasizing his family ties to New Hampshire and his vacation home in the coastal community of Rye. He put his Massachusetts home in Wrentham on the market in late September.
“It’d be great to have him back,” Portman said this week, acknowledging his own conversations with Brown. “He needs to make a personal decision. I just don’t know where he is on it.”
As of now, Republicans are struggling to recruit against Shaheen, who is popular in her swing state.
Brown would, at the very least, give them a big-time fundraiser with a moderate profile who remained popular in his home state despite his 2012 reelection loss to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). But it would also be one of the most brazen examples of carpet-bagging in U.S. political history.