Sunday January 27, 2013

BOSTON -- Since being voted out of office last year, former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has been mum on plans to run for John Kerry's Senate seat if Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state.

That's about all he's been mum on, however.

In recent posts on Twitter and Facebook, Brown has given updates on his meals and workouts, cheered on the New England Patriots and the Boston Bruins, plugged his book signings and offered snapshots of his post-Senate home life with his wife, Gail Huff.

"Woke up early and cleaned the garage or Gail would not speak to me," Brown posted Jan. 11. "Had to think long and hard, but ended up cleaning it anyway."

In another post, Brown anticipated the AFC championship game between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, assessing some of the Patriots' key players.

"Bring on the Ravens. Let me know the best tailgate parties and I will try to visit," Brown posted on Jan. 13. "Worried about Gronk, love Welker. Ridley and Vareen played great. Go Pats!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A week later, Brown put a photo of himself and his wife at Gillette Stadium on his Facebook page.

"Ugh!" He posted later as the Patriots were defeated.

Brown is equally quick to play the doting father.

"Just heard my baby sing the National Anthem at the Orange Bowl. Sweet. Great job Ayla," Brown tweeted Jan. 1, referring to his daughter and former "American Idol" contestant.

Brown also revealed his inner movie critic.

"Now watching the Silver Linings Playbook with Gail and Ar.," Brown said, referring to his daughter Arianna. "Bradley Cooper -- love him, funny, intense and versatile."

About the only question Brown hasn't touched on is the one that voters and political watchers across Massachusetts most want answered: whether he will run for Kerry's Senate seat in an anticipated special election?

The Massachusetts Republican is coming off a grueling and unsuccessful yearlong campaign to retain the seat he won during a special election in 2010. Brown lost the 2012 race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Despite the loss, Brown is considered a front-runner for the special election. He has a statewide political organization, remains popular with voters, and has demonstrated an ability to raise tens of millions in campaign donations.

Brown has another plus. He would almost certainly face no serious competition on the Republican side.

But Brown still face many of the disadvantages any Republican faces in Massachusetts, where Democrats dominate in elected office.

Despite his popularity, Brown still ended up losing to Warren by about 8 percentage points. Brown supporters are quick to point out however, that the election came during a presidential election year where Democrats were likely more motivated to turn out to support President Obama and Warren.

During a special election, which will likely take place during the summer, Democrat won't enjoy Obama's political coattails. They also won't be able to argue -- as they did last year -- that Brown's election could tip the balance of power in the Senate.

So far, the only announced candidate for Kerry's seat is Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, dean of the state's congressional delegation.

Congressman Stephen Lynch, a fellow Democrat, is also weighing a run and could announce a decision this week following Kerry's expected confirmation by the full U.S. Senate.

"From my perspective, competition is good for the party," said John Walsh, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Brown has faulted Markey -- during a radio interview instead of online -- questioning whether he even lives in Massachusetts since he owns a home with his wife in Maryland.

Once Kerry, who's expected to be confirmed, has resigned from the Senate, Gov. Deval Patrick will have to set a date for the special election to take place in 145 to 160 days. Patrick will also have to name an interim senator to fill the seat temporarily.

Although Brown won't have to immediately say if he's running, the longer he remains silent the harder it would be for any other Republican to launch a campaign if he decides to sit out the election.

Brown will also have to begin collecting the signatures needed to get his name on the ballot.

In the meantime, however, Brown seems content to opine on his workout regimen, household chores and food. But his favorite topic remains his beloved local sports teams.

In fact, virtually the only suggestion of politics from Brown in his online comments came in a post when he alluded to his efforts to avoid being pigeonholed as a conservative Republican.

"I know I am too bipartisan for some of you corresponding to me via FB, but not when it comes to the Pats," Brown said on his Facebook account. "I am 100 percent behind them."