When Republican Senators eviscerated Susan Rice in her campaign for Secretary of State, everyone assumed that they had some grand strategic plan for the Republicans to take over the Senate majority next year. With her out of the race, the only other likely nominee was John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts. Once Kerry took the job, the Bay State would hold a special election to replace him; Scott Brown would regain his seat, and the likelihood that the Democrats would hold the majority in 2014 would markedly decline.
Then, last weekend, Scott Brown threw a monkey wrench into these plans. He decided, three weeks before the deadline, not to run for the seat. Under the rules, in order to be on the special election ballot, they have to receive 10,000 signatures in that time. Why would Brown decide not to run?
There are two rationales. The less cynical position is that he prefers to run for the Governor’s job opening next year. This would provide him with experience in the executive branch that he could later parlay into a future Presidential run. The other explanation is that after his defeat by Elizabeth Warren in November, he couldn’t so quickly run again for the Senate since another loss would take him out of the political arena for years.
But now, the Massachusetts GOP has been placed in a difficult position. It either opts to not have a real candidate for the special election, and just give it to the Democrats for the long-term future, or somehow find another candidate who has a chance to win. There seems to be only one person who could possibly win: Ann Romney. She obviously has higher name recognition than any Democratic contender. She also has enough money (although not as much as Al Gore) to run a competitive race. She clearly has some health issues, but she need not run a person to person race. She could instead have a number of television ads that show the personality and knowledge of issues that made her so popular last year.