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December 01. 2013 12:21PM

Former Sen. Bob Smith will run for U.S. Senate


Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith said Sunday he will run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire. (File photo)

Less than six weeks after saying he would not run, former Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H,, has vaulted back into the race for the U.S. Senate.

In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Smith said he finalized his decision over the past week.

"I hadn't had a chance to discuss everything with my family, I had a chance to do that over Thanksgiving," Smith said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. "I just can't bear to sit on the sidelines and watch what is going on; I just like I had to contribute, I felt like I had a lot of fuel in the tank and changed my mind."

Two Republicans are already in the race for the GOP nomination to face incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the November, 2014 general election. Smith said he had left messages for conservative activist Karen Testerman and former state Sen. Jim Reubens advising them that he is running.

The ebb and flow of speculation over whether former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. would enter the race as not a factor, Smith said. Brown's vacation home in Rye and frequent Granite State appearances on behalf of Republican causes has led to speculation that he would declare himself a New Hampshire resident and run for the Senate.

"I have not spoken to him," Smith said. "My decision is final if he gets in he gets in, it's not about Scott Brown."

Making the transition from a retired political figure who said he would not run to an active candidate means Smith has some work to do to build an organization and to raise the money needed for a candidacy. Smith gave the remaining funds in his federal election account to charities a few years ago and must start fund raising from scratch.

But Smith indicated he thinks the Obama administration's miscues in implementing the Affordable Care Act presents a political opening.

"We're going to go very intensely, I've been working no-stop for the past three or four days," Smith said. "I believe right now campaigns tend to be too long ... in the last three months with what has happened with Obamacare you are seeing people who are not normally active, people who would not go to a Democrat or Republican event, are being hurt by this law."

Elected to the U.S. House three times and to the Senate twice. he was defeated in the Republican Senate primary in 2002 by U.S. Rep. John Sununu who went on to defeat Shaheen in the general election. He was also a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination 2000 and later flirted with becoming a member of the Taxpayers Party before rejoining the Republican ranks.

For the past several years, Smith, 72, has been involved in real estate in Florida where he maintains a home.

Smith said paperwork to make his candidacy official with the Federal Election Commission will be filed within the next few days and a formal announcement of his candidacy will come in January.


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