Will Scott Brown Have A Fred Tuttle Problem?

Associated Press

TPM Reader SR emails with a recent and perilous precedent for Scott Brown’s move to New Hampshire so he can run for U.S. Senate:

I just read Daniel Strauss’ article about why Scott Brown doesn’t have history on his side if he runs for the Senate, and I thought a more recent example of how this could play out would be helpful.

I grew up in Vermont, which in history, demographics, and character are pretty similar to New Hampshire (as well as having family in New Hampshire) and remember the 1998 Senate Elections.

Massachusetts millionaire Jack McMullen moved to the state for the purpose of running against Senator Leahy. Vermonters very much resented the carpet bagging attempt, and in a case of Life immitating Art, Fred Tuttle, star of indie movie “Man with a Plan” ran against him in the Republican Primary.

As Vermont has open primaries, many people (and Democrats) decided to vote in the Republican primary for Tuttle, who was never seen as a serious candidate, but rather as making a point that Vermonters didn’t appreciate what McMullen was doing. Tuttle overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination, and then basically endorsed Senator Leahy.

I believe there’s a very good chance that the New Hampshire voters, with their open primaries, could feel the same way about Senator Brown’s blatantly opportunistic move, should he decide to run. While a great deal of New Hampshire is in the Boston Metro area/culture, there’s a very strong attitude that runs through Northern New England that I think would be very hostile to this move.

Fred Tuttle on the Tonight Show, Oct. 28, 1998

The original AP caption: Farmer Fred Tuttle, right, listens as U.S. Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., points to a student at the one-room schoolhouse in Granville, Vt., Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1998. Tuttle, the Republican candidate running for Leahy’s seat, made his first appearance with Leahy. Tuttle is an unlikely candidate, having won the Republican primary as a protest candidate against a Massachusetts millionaire. Tuttle admits he will vote for Leahy in the fall election.

Lead Photo: Fred Tuttle, retired dairy farmer-turned movie star, reacts as he hears he has won the Republican primary in Tunbridge, Vt., Tuesday, Sept. 8., 1998.