• U.S.

Senator-Elect Scott Brown

6 minute read
Claire Suddath

When Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown started his campaign to fill Edward Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat with few backers and comparatively little money, few people expected him to win — or even come close. But thanks to his promise to use his crucial vote to block the Democrats’ congressional health care reform bill, he has gained the support of conservative special-interest groups and beat Democratic opponent Martha Coakley in the Jan. 19 special election. This is big news in Massachusetts — and Washington. A Brown victory — for the seat of liberal lion and health care reform champion Ted Kennedy, no less — signals the extent of national discord over the bill, even in a left-leaning state that hasn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1972.

(See Ted Kennedy’s life in pictures.)

Fast Facts:
• Born Sept. 12, 1959. His parents divorced when he was very young. His father remarried three times, his mother four.

• Attended Tufts University and Boston College Law School. Is now a practicing attorney.

• Joined the Army National Guard when he was 19. His 30-year service includes deployments to Kazakhstan and Paraguay. He is now a lieutenant colonel and also works as the Guard’s head defense lawyer for all of New England.

• Once worked as a model for Marshall’s department store and Jordache jeans.

• A 22-year-old Brown won Cosmopolitan magazine’s “America’s Sexiest Man” contest and appeared nude in the June 1982 issue. Cosmo described him as “strong but huggable.”

• Married to Gail Huff, a news reporter on ABC’s Boston affiliate WCVB. The couple met at a state-regulatory-board meeting, where they were attempting to recover money from modeling agents who hadn’t paid them. They now have two daughters, Ayla and Arianna. Ayla is a former American Idol contestant.

• Brown owns a four-bedroom, colonial-style home in Wrentham, Mass.; a six-room house in Rye, N.H.; three small condo units in Brighton, Mass.; and a time-share unit in Aruba.

• A triathlete, Brown enjoys bicycling, swimming and long-distance running but had to cut back on his 5 a.m. workouts to devote more time to the Senate race.

• Was first elected to political office in 1992 when he became assessor in Wrentham, Mass. In 1998, he was elected to Massachusetts’ state house of representatives.

• Won a March 2004 special election to replace Cheryl Jacques in the Massachusetts state senate. Won re-election in November 2004, then again in 2006 and 2008. Is one of only five Republicans in the 40-member state senate.

• Has worked to tighten sex-offender laws and increase sexual-abuse victims’ rights.

• Is pro-choice but has the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who believe he would vote for a pro-life Supreme Court judge.

• Is against gay marriage but favors civil unions. In 2001, Brown called then state Senator Cheryl Jacques’ decision to have children with her female partner as “not normal” and referred to her parenting as “alleged family responsibilities.” He later apologized.

• Was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for “meritorious service in homeland security” after the 9/11 attacks.

• In 2007, Brown visited King Philip High School to discuss the topic of gay-marriage legislation. Students had posted insulting comments about Brown and his family on Facebook. At the meeting, Brown read the profanity-laced comments aloud and identified some of the students who wrote them.

• In 2008, he voted in favor of Massachusetts joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a pact among northeastern states requiring power plants to reduce emissions or to buy carbon credits. He now says he would vote against the initiative as well as a federal cap-and-trade bill.

• During the U.S. Senate election, Brown relied heavily on his grass-roots website Don’t Vote Alone, where supporters personally guaranteed that they would convince their friends and family to vote.

• Although initially supportive of the health care bill, Brown now objects because Massachusetts — where nearly all citizens now have health care coverage — would end up subsidizing other states’ health care costs.

(Read “5 Truths About Health Care in America.”)

Quotes By:
“This isn’t Ted Kennedy’s seat. This is the people’s seat.”
— When asked if he was worried that a Republican hadn’t held a Massachusetts Senate seat since 1972 (The Boston Globe, Nov. 30, 2009)

“I’m not ashamed of my body.”
— In an interview with Cosmopolitan that accompanied his nude pictorial in 1982

“I’d really have to check that far back. I really don’t have the time, nor do I care.”
— When asked why he became a Republican (The Weekly Standard, Jan. 18, 2010)

“I was hoping the people thinking of challenging [me] would give me a chance to do my job, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”
— Responding to announcements by three Democratic candidates, made before Brown had been sworn in as state senator, that they would run against him in the next election (The Boston Globe, March 18, 2004)

“You can hammer me, but I can’t call you out on it?”
— In response to criticism that he read slanderous, profane Facebook comments aloud to the students who wrote them (The Metro West Daily News, Feb. 10, 2007)

“I am not quite sure what you are talking about, what are they trying to do?”
— When asked what he thought of the tea-party movement (The Huffington Post, Jan. 14, 2010)

“Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and I don’t plan on overturning it, but I’ve always felt that, you know, I’m against partial-birth abortions and believe in parental consent, a strong parental-notification law.”
— The Boston Globe, Nov. 20, 2009

“I’m not known as a social liberal, that’s for sure.”
— The Boston Globe, Jan. 10, 2010

Quotes About:
“Scott Brown: So Republican, he’s even registered as a Republican.”
— Parody campaign video aired on Michael Graham’s popular Boston talk-radio program

“Here at Cosmo we’ve had bachelors go on to be actors, models, and reality show stars, so we’re thrilled that one has gone on to become a politician.”
— Kate White, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan (Cosmopolitan.com, Sept. 22, 2009)

“In Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”
— Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s Countdown, in a virulent rant against the Massachusetts candidate

“That 41st vote is getting people motivated.”
— Kurt Hages, a volunteer from Boxborough, Mass., campaigning for Brown (The New York Times, Jan. 18, 2010)

Read “Crisis of Confidence on Health Care Bill.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com