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Roll Call

Scott Brown Has $7M in Bank to Fight Challenge From Right

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He may be an original tea party hero, but Sen. Scott Brown (R) is among a small group of Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2012 likely to face an attack from the right. Among those select few, however, no one has a more impressive bank account than Brown, a former state Senator who famously captured the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) in early 2010.

Brown will file a year-end report with the Federal Election Commission today showing a cash balance of $7.2 million at the end of last year a figure first reported by the Boston Herald. Thats triple the amount of his Republican colleagues who are bracing for the possibility of a challenge from the right and left next year.

The Maine tea party movement has identified Snowe removal as a top priority a reference to ousting three-term Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). Snowe reported a cash balance of $1.2 million at the end of December.
In Indiana, Sen. Dick Lugar (R) is a top target for local tea party supporters, who banded together last weekend to sign a proclamation promising to rally around a single primary challenger in June. Lugar reported $2.4 million in his campaign account at the end of the year.
Browns bloated campaign account is largely the result of a flood of tea-party-related cash he received in the weeks before his 2010 special election victory. He couldnt spend the money fast enough, raising more than $15 million in that effort and finishing the special election cycle with $6 million in cash on hand.
Ironically, its the tea party money that puts him in a strong position to fend off any challenge from the right. The Bay States tea party movement has not hidden its irritation with Browns voting record to date.
I wish he was voting differently, Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party told Roll Call earlier in the month. I dont think anybody in the tea party movement in Massachusetts has learned enough in the last year to launch an effective primary campaign against him. But I think there will be people who try.
Even with a challenge from the right, Varley predicted that Brown would be completely safe. His bank account will certainly help.
While a Democratic challenger has yet to emerge, Roll Call Politics rates this race a Tossup.

For more from our At the Races politics blog, click here.

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