Scott Brown quizzed on New Hampshire geography in Senate debate

Republican candidate for the United States Senate Scott Brown speaks at a campaign rally at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire October 15, 2014.


Former Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, has had to shake off the label of "carpet-bagger" since launching his Senate campaign in New Hampshire. In his final debate against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, on Thursday night, he once again was pressed on his familiarity with the Granite State.

Debate panelist James Pindell of WMUR asked Brown to name issues that needed to be addressed specifically with New Hampshire's Sullivan County.

New Hampshire Dept. of Education

"You are absolutely right, geography plays a role," Brown responded, noting that there's less economic potential in the northern part of the state. One of the biggest opportunities is tourism," he said, blaming Obamacare for burdening businesses.

Pindell responded, "We're talking about Sullivan county, and I think you were sounds talking about the North Country?"

Brown, once again mentioning Obamacare and issues like high energy costs, said, "I'm talking about any place past Concord, actually, and the challenges of our state."

Pindell challenged Brown again, asserting that "Sullivan County is west of Concord. It's not North of Concord." Brown tried to drop the issue, saying, "The challenges are the same in all of our counties."

After the debate, Pindell apologized and acknowledged that Sullivan County is both north and west of Concord. "On this point, Scott Brown was right. I was wrong," he said.

As the Concord Monitor noted, it wasn't the only moment in the debate when geography came up. When asked why he's running for elected office in the state, Brown responded that he was born at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Furthermore, he said both he and Shaheen "care about New Hampshire. The question is: What are we going to do for New Hampshire?"

The New Hampshire Senate race is expected to be close, though Shaheen has had a slight edge in polls. One American Research Group survey released this week showed the candidates tied, while a WMUR/UNH poll released this week gave Shaheen an eight-point lead.

The candidates Thursday night discussed a range of issues aside from geography: Brown said that Islamic radicals pose the greatest threat to America, while Shaheen said the U.S. is handling the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Additionally, Shaheen reiterated her support for the comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, while Brown said he opposes it. Asked about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to quarantine a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Africa, Shaheen said, "Hopefully people will be willing to voluntarily do it. If they don't, governors have authority to enforce it."