Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts will be the keynote speaker for the Scott County Republican Party’s annual Ronald Reagan fundraising dinner this November, a follow-up to a stop off at the state fair in August that sparked speculation about a possible 2016 presidential bid.
Brown won a special election in 2010 to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, then lost last year to Elizabeth Warren. After that, he took a job with a law firm and as a Fox News commentator. And he’s been touring a series of states giving speeches.
In an interview Thursday, he shrugged off talk of a potential 2016 bid, instead saying he was focused on helping a Republican get elected to the Senate in Iowa next year.
He’s also been preaching a message that calls for a big tent approach for the Republican Party.
“We are a party of big ideas, allowing people with differing ideas to have their point of view, be heard and be respectful about it, no need to demonize or vilify or all be in the same mold, this ideologically pure mold,” he said.
Brown said the GOP is big enough for people like him, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“There’s room for all of us,” he said. "And we have to find a way to work together to get that message out and come up with some ideas to solve these very real problems people are facing."
Brown, a former state lawmaker before winning the Senate seat, drew some attention by criticizing new U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., for voting “present” on a resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing military action in Syria. He was the only one to do so.
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Markey said he needed more time to study the issue. But Brown, in a Facebook post, called the position “unreal.”
In the interview Thursday, he said he would have voted to move the resolution to the Senate floor but didn’t commit to how he would vote then.
“I’m not going to look at what’s in the future. I’m not on the floor. That’s what they get paid the big bucks for.” Brown also has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Markey next year.
Iowa has seen a flurry of visits from potential 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, but this will be the first to the Quad-Cities. It will take place at the Scott County Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan dinner on Nov. 12 at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m.
The focus of the dinner, according to one of the organizers, is introducing the party’s Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate. All of the candidates have been invited to the dinner.