Scott Brown Forgot His Party Affiliation

The New Hampshire candidate-to-be left an important box unchecked.

Associated Press

Associated Press

It’s the kind of small oversight you can almost see the campaign making on purpose.

Scott Brown (or, realistically, someone who works for him) forgot to check the box that asks for the candidate’s political party on his formal statement of organization for his campaign exploratory committee, the Washington Post reports. Lest you imagine that Brown is having some kind of mavericky existential crisis, Brown’s campaign told the post this was “administrative oversight that will be fixed when they drop ‘exploratory’ from the committee name on Thursday.” He’s still a Republican. And he plans to stay one when he makes official his run for Senate in New Hampshire on Thursday.

So there’s no real harm here. Still, the fact that the FEC had to write Brown a form letter to ask which party he’s in is amusing to those of us who have followed Brown’s career. His campaign for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts isn’t so far in the rearview, and in that one, he regularly stressed his independence, both to contrast himself from Elizabeth Warren and assuage the fears of a GOP-ambivalent Blue State. It led him to skip the Republican National Convention, to suggest that he might not vote for Senator Mitch McConnell as majority leader, and to name his campaign ads things like “Independent.”

Of course, Brown has gone north to the more Republican-friendly state of New Hampshire. But even there, it’s a special brand of independence that they value rather than any specific party. In this campaign, as in all campaigns, Brown is picking up his favorite issue: opposition to Obamacare. He’s finding that its not the most cut-and-dry of matters, even in the state of Live Free or Die. See, for instance, the occasion when Brown called Obamacare a “monstrosity” to Republican representative Herb Richardson, who then told him the law had been a “financial life-saver for his family.” (The Huffington Post basically perished on the spot with smug.) So even in New Hampshire, we imagine Brown’s going to keep hammering home that “independence” identity, one unchecked box at a time.