WMUR: Bill O’Brien exploring run against Jeanne Shaheen for US Senate seat

MANCHESTER, N.H. —

Now that Gov. Chris Sununu is running for reelection in 2020 and not for U.S. Senate, the field is wide open for Republicans seeking to take on incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien is still in the exploratory phase of his campaign, but he said if he does end up in the U.S. Senate, voters could count on him to join forces with conservatives like Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Tom Cotton, of Arkansas.

O’Brien wielded the gavel for just one term, but he made his mark on state government.

As he explores a run now for U.S. Senate, he said long before President Donald Trump, he was a conservative lightning rod weathering relentless attacks from Democrats.

“The progressives don’t know how to deal with him, other than the name-calling that he’s experiencing now and that I experienced. They call him racist, they called me racist. They call him a misogynist, they called me a misogynist, evil, bully. And it’s an unfortunate way to conduct a political conversation,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien has long drawn the ire of not just Democrats but also establishment Republicans. He said they’re searching frantically right now for a candidate to run against him.

“I know establishment Republicans will pull out any number of generals, any number of people who might have a vacation home in New Hampshire and might decide, ‘I’d like to go into semi-retirement and I have $3 million to throw into a race,” O’Brien said.

The former speaker is a successful businessman himself, and he has participated in efforts the last few years to bridge divides in the GOP.

O’Brien, though, is saving his harshest criticism for Shaheen.

“We have a self-described moderate, and we’ve waited for her to provide some supervision. When we’ve listened to her say, ‘I’m everyone’s grandmother,’ and she can’t even be the adult at the kiddie socialist party, we realize there’s a time for change,” O’Brien said.

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