By Katie Curley Katzman
NEWBURYPORT — In the scope of a few short weeks, C. Bruce Brown of Newburyport has seen his son Scott Brown's political ambitions grow from a long-shot campaign to the most-watched political event in the nation.
As a youth, Scott Brown spent summers at his father's home on Plum Island, worked on his steamship, Sabino, and played basketball at the Elks Club on Low Street.
Now he's in the political fight of his life — battling with Democrat Martha Coakley for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
C. Bruce Brown, who served as a Newburyport city councilor for 18 years, has fond memories of his son's days in Newburyport. Brown and his first wife were divorced when Scott Brown was very young, and his son split his time between Newburyport and Wakefield. C. Bruce Brown later married Peggy Kennedy Brown.
"He used to come down with Gail (Scott Brown's wife, Gail Huff, of Channel 5 News) and his then-only daughter, Ayla, when I had the Shingle House Company on Plum Island," C. Bruce Brown said. "He has a beautiful family, and he will bring political prestige to this area."
Scott Brown currently has a summer home on Rye Beach in Rye, N.H.
His father said his son's political dreams started early. Taking after his father and grandfather, Scott Brown quickly took to Republican politics. After graduating from Tufts University on a scholarship and winning a national public speaking award, Brown moved into local government, serving as a town selectman in Wrentham, located in the southeastern part of Massachusetts.
"I served on Newburyport City Council, then my job transferred me to the Berkshires in the mid-'60s," C. Bruce Brown said. "I was running for state office, and Scott came with me. That's when he really got a taste of it."
Brown said he is proud of his son for working on every level of government before running to attain higher office. Scott Brown is currently a state senator representing the Wrentham area. In addition, service in the National Guard makes him even more qualified for the job of U.S. senator, C. Bruce Brown said.
"He is dedicated to that and has the background to talk about the war," Brown said. "Another thing that sets him apart is that he always picks up the phone and returns a call. He is always happy to go over something or re-explain something."
As the election nears in the coming days, C. Bruce Brown says his son is burnt out, but his passion for making America a better place is sustaining him.
"Being a Republican is just another challenge to him," Brown said. "I was a Republican, his grandfather was, but at that time it was 50/50 in the state. Now, changes have to be made so it gets back to that. He will come out strong."
Brown said the political attack ads on television don't hurt him or his son, but instead frustrate them.
"Scott's not malicious; he keeps it above the board, and it doesn't hurt him," Brown said of the ads. "It's more frustrating than anything. It's the people who sit there and watch the ads and believe them without questioning them that is frustrating. He would rather them call him up and let him explain his stance."
Should Brown win on Tuesday, he has made it clear he would hold the seat only for three terms. Senate terms last for six years, though the current race will only fill out the remaining three years of what was Sen. Kennedy's term.
"He is a strong believer in term limits," his father said. "Having someone in the same seat for 50 years doesn't do the party any good. You have to shake it up to come out with answers."
As far as any advice that father has given son, C. Bruce Brown said Scott Brown doesn't need any.
"I just remind him to be honest and be himself," he said. "Work with people, answer the phone, provide help to your constituents, and you will come out on top."