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Scott Brown and the Politics of Place

The U.S. Senate candidate stopped by a Portsmouth landmark for some chowder.

Scott Brown greets Evelyn Marconi, Portsmouth. (Dan Tuohy photo)
Scott Brown greets Evelyn Marconi, Portsmouth. (Dan Tuohy photo)
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Scott Brown is walking down Memory Lane, which, in this case, is Mechanic Street. He marvels at the nearby houses. He recalls walking down here along the waterfront as a kid, how it was decidedly less gentrified then.

"Wow," he says.

Brown, as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, does not have much time to reel in the years. Or so you would think. But at campaign stops here and there – and especially here at Geno's Chowder & Sandwich Shop, a Portsmouth landmark – the former Bay State senator regularly traces his roots to New Hampshire and the Seacoast. 

Greeting a table of two at Geno's, he learns one of them is a Hampton teacher on spring recess. "You're from Hampton? My mom lives in Hampton," he says.
 
As Brown goes from table to table, from across the room you can see him gesture out the window, toward the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where he was born at the Navy hospital. Later, when asked by a reporter how to strengthen the shipyard and prevent it from any future "base realignment and closure" process, Brown says he has worked to protect key defense bases before, as a state senator in Massachusetts, and when he served in the U.S. Senate.

"My sister works there for starters," Brown says of the shipyard. "There's a long and vibrant history in this area and I would do anything and work with everybody to make sure it stays important."

Portsmouth, where Brown launched his campaign on April 7, will see plenty more of him as the race unwinds toward the primary on Sept. 9. He and his wife, Gail Huff, live in nearby Rye. Their daughters, Ayla and Arianna, will be getting married this summer, and the public will hear more from Ayla, a former "American Idol" finalist, at a couple of events soon. Ayla Brown is a guest with Seacoast Idol, in Exeter, on May 4. 

At Geno's, Brown sat down at a table with three people who clapped for him when he walked in the door. Johnny Welch of Hampton, who spoke one-on-one with Brown for a few minutes, is convinced Brown would help create jobs. 

"I think he's going to be terrific for this state," Welch says.

With Brown still making the rounds inside, John Goyette leaves Geno's after his lunch and he casually refers to Brown as "a carpetbagger." Asked for his thoughts on the race, he offers a deeper assessment of the campaign and conditions that just might be favorable to a candidate like Brown.

Goyette, who lives in the New Castle area, says the race will come down to New Hampshire's largest voting bloc, the independents, like himself.

"We're used to Republicans being very viable and I think the problem has become the Republican Party has been held hostage by a very conservative Tea party element," Goyette says. "What's really going to be important as the whole campaign develops, both in terms of the primary and the final election, will be to see how Scott Brown speaks to a more moderate voice as far as the Republican Party is concerned."

As far as Evelyn Marconi is concerned, Scott Brown is just what New Hampshire needs. Marconi, the proprietor of Geno's, welcomes candidates to her establishment every election cycle – at least, those she likes. In an interview, she begins to talk about issues, but cuts to the chase and talks about leadership qualities.

"I support him," she says, "because I think he's a man of character."
jpf2361 April 29, 2014 at 07:25 PM
stevie, your copying, pasting and re-posting that comment over and over again is CHILDISH and PATHETIC !!!
jpf2361 April 29, 2014 at 07:29 PM
Oh yeah I forgot to mention that stevie also get's SUBSIDIES for his ObamaCare plan. All this due to the FACT that he refuses to get a Job that includes HealthCare coverage as part of his payment package so he can SUPPORT HIS OWN FAMILY. NO, stevie prefers to leach off the system because that is a lot easier than acting like a MAN!!!!
Stephen D. Clark April 29, 2014 at 07:33 PM
Settle down there, skippy. No need to work yourself into a lather.
Old Pizza April 29, 2014 at 08:34 PM
Covering pre-existing conditions in a health insurance policy is nonsense. Would you get an auto insurance policy after an accident and expect them to cover the accident?? Or a homeowners policy after a house fire and expect them to cover the fire loss? Or better yet, pick up a life insurance policy for someone who recently died? So Clarkie ......., why are you paying those monthly Obamacare premiums? Just pick up a policy when you find yourself faced with one of those outrageous $250,000 surgeries. Keep your money. Buy a new camera. Sing Halleluiah. Praise the Lord and pass the beans!
Stephen D. Clark April 29, 2014 at 08:40 PM
Go tell that to the diabetic who just lost his job and can't afford COBRA.

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