The CFPB was created by the new Wall Street Reform law to protect consumers from dangerous financial products. It's also the brainchild of Brown's Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren, who led the agency in its infancy.
Cordray is well liked by both Democrats and Republicans, but 44 members of the Senate GOP caucus -- enough to sustain a filibuster -- have vowed to block any designated CFPB director unless the agency is fundamentally weakened. This move helps Brown neutralize one of his liabilities in the campaign, at least in part. But it also slightly undermines the rest of the party's effort to hamstring the agency -- one of the key pieces of President Obama's legacy -- before it truly gets running.
For the GOP, that's a small price to pay if it helps them keep that Senate seat. They're giving Brown a hall pass here.
Late update: Kevin Franck, spokesman for the Massachusetts Dems, sends over the following statement. "This is nothing more than a meaningless and thinly veiled attempt by Scott Brown to hide his anti-consumer record from Massachusetts voters. Scott Brown never seems to understand that it's not his words that matter, it's his actions. It is refreshing, however, to see that Brown has finally seen the light on the virtues of an up-or-down-vote since he has developed a nasty habit of voting to filibuster Democratic plans to create jobs."