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Romney to Endorse Brown in Race to Unseat Shaheen

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will endorse Scott Brown in his campaign to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaeen (D-N.H.).

The announcement came in the form of an email from Scott Brown to his supporters on Tuesday. In the statement, Brown said that the former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate will join him during his “Independence Day Kick-Off” campaign stop in Stratham, N.H., on July 2. The event will be held at Doug and Stella Scamman’s Bittersweet Farm. Doug Scamman is a former 13-term state representative who retired in 2010.

The farm has some significance for Romney – it’s the site where he announced his bid for the presidency in 2012.

In the email, Brown said he was proud to have received Romney’s endorsement, saying further that he was “right about so many things.”

“Together, we will rally with Republicans and those who want to make a difference in this election,” Brown wrote.

In 2012, Romney won the Republican presidential primary in the state, setting up his run at the White House. Brown endorsed Romney in that year’s presidential race.

It was the second major endorsement this week for the former Massachusetts senator. On Monday, New Hampshire State Senate President Chuck Morse (R) announced that he would back Brown in the race.

“I am confident that Scott has what it takes to unify the Republican Party and win back this Senate seat in November,” Morse said in a press release. “Shaheen is out of touch with our state, as proven through her partisan voting record and loyalty to President Obama.”

The “unity” message by Republicans in New Hampshire is quickly becoming a buzzword in the race. Last week, New Hampshire Republican Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn urged the other candidates, Jim Rubens and Bob Smith, to sign a “unity pledge,” asking that they promise to support the winner of the September Republican primary.

During a forum with the three candidates earlier this week, Smith said he suspects collusion between the GOP committee and Brown’s camp in the planning and distribution of the letter. He has maintained that signing the pledge would be “premature.”

Smith’s campaign manager, Jack Kimball, said in a statement he was “disappointed” by Romney’s endorsement of Brown but that the campaign “does not concern itself with these types of endorsements.” He said the support by conservative voters is shifting the momentum to Smith.

“He is the only candidate for the U.S. Senate that supports 100 percent of the GOP platform,” Kimball wrote. “[H]e is also the only candidate in this race that has a 98 percent voting record for conservative values while he served in Congress and the U.S. Senate.”

Rubens, a former state senator, said in a statement that the endorsement “is another attempt by the establishment to squelch the primary debate,” a claim he initially made during the candidate forum. During the forum he alleged that that the party would prefer if Brown was not challenged in a primary. Rubens has signed the unity pledge, but did not do so until Brown agreed to two additional debates.

Rubens said that Brown’s support of Romneycare in Massachusetts “is one of many examples of Scott Brown supporting government takeover of healthcare” and that he “is not prepared” for the tough fight in Congress to repeal, and replace the healthcare reforms.

“Brown wants to grandfather parts of Obamacare,” Rubens said in a statement. “He also supports Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire which will be funded by printed and borrowed money, driving our nation deeper into debt and creating 50,000 new government dependents.”

According to a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll taken this month, 47 percent of respondents said the Affordable Care Act was “generally bad” for New Hampshire, compared to 41 percent who called it “generally good.”

The Republicans have repeatedly attacked Shaheen for her “deciding” vote in the Senate to pass the healthcare overhauls in 2010. Brown has often said the Democratic senator votes with the president 100 percent of the time.

In that same poll, Brown was found to be the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican primary – garnering the support of slightly more than 40 percent of respondents. Smith, a former U.S senator, placed second in the poll with just over 12 percent. Rubens polled at a little over 3 percent.

Shaheen, however, bested both Brown and Smith; outpolling Brown 49 percent to 39 percent and Smith 51 percent to 31 percent in the hypothetical races.

According to the poll, Mitt Romney does have some political clout in New Hampshire. More than 24 percent said they would vote for him if he were to run for president in 2016.

Brown, so far, has also received endorsements from State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R), U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and former New Hampshire governors Steve Merril (R) and Craig Benson (R).

Smith was recently endorsed by conservative radio personality Karen Testerman, who pulled the plug on her own campaign for the seat on June 13.

(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)