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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Merrimack group rescinds invite to Scott Brown on day he files for candidacy

CONCORD – A Merrimack business group rescinded its invitation for a one-on-one meeting with Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown after concluding that Brown ducked showing up at a forum with his GOP primary rivals.

Merrimack Business Association President David McCray said it’s clear to him Brown’s campaign was untruthful that he couldn’t make a June 18 forum with other candidates in the town because of a scheduling conflict. ...

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CONCORD – A Merrimack business group rescinded its invitation for a one-on-one meeting with Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown after concluding that Brown ducked showing up at a forum with his GOP primary rivals.

Merrimack Business Association President David McCray said it’s clear to him Brown’s campaign was untruthful that he couldn’t make a June 18 forum with other candidates in the town because of a scheduling conflict.

In a letter to Brown campaign officials, McCray said the invitation was extended more than six weeks ago.

McCray cited an editorial in The Telegraph that revealed Brown’s campaign had sought to have the candidate meet with the newspaper’s editorial board during the day on June 18.

“When your campaign declined the invitation due to a conflicting engagement, I took you at your word and felt it was fair to give Senator Brown another date to be heard by the Merrimack Business Association, but in light of not seeing proof that an engagement on June 18th was scheduled prior to April 23rd is truly the case and in trying to be fair to all, we will not allow him to have a separate meeting where he will not have to engage with the other candidates,” McCray wrote.

Initially, McCray said he offered Brown a chance to speak to the group at a later date.

A Brown campaign spokesman denied the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts was avoiding his competition.

“Scott Brown is participating in a WMUR forum with the other GOP primary candidates on June 20, and has also accepted an invitation to debate in September,” said Lizzy Guyton, Brown’s communications director.

Brown made official his candidacy by signing up at Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office Thursday.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because I care about New Hampshire,” Brown said. “We take our freedoms seriously, but right now, they are being threatened by a growing federal government that is involving itself in every aspect of our lives, burdening us with debt that can never be repaid, raising taxes without regard for the impact on our pocketbooks and forcing on us a health care plan that doesn’t work.”

More than 75 Brown supporters lined the corridors outside Gardner’s office to welcome Brown who arrived with his wife, Gail Huff.

About a dozen Democratic Party activists protested the event with signs mocking Brown’s years living in Massachusetts and his accepting $1.3 million worth of stock to serve on the advisory board of a Florida company, Global Digital Solutions, that analysts said looked like a risky venture.

They held signs that read, “Scott Brown, Wolf of Palm Beach,” and “Massachusetts Is That Way”

A short time after filing his candidacy, Brown confirmed he was resigning his position on the company’s advisory board.

“It’s clear from recent media reports that my continued role with the company would be an unnecessary and unwanted distraction,” Brown said in a statement. “I want the people of New Hampshire to know they are my top priority. Therefore, I am resigning my advisory position with the company and relinquishing all my rights to the restricted stock that has been granted me, effective immediately.”

Reporters peppered Brown with questions about the controversy.

“When I became an adviser to Global Digital Solutions last year, I did so as a private citizen who viewed them as a start-up company in the defense technology field with the potential for long-term growth. I served as an adviser, and did not participate in the day-to-day decision-making of the company,” Brown said. “I have not received any monetary compensation from this company, nor will I in the future.

Brown thanked those who showed up to support him and those who were determined to see him lose this race.

“It gets the juices flowing and energizes me even more,” Brown said.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).