Tuesday's upset Republican victory in Massachusetts may well have less to do with ideology and more to do with old-fashioned retail politics: Scott Brown was a charismatic candidate with an old truck and an intriguing narrative.
The state senator who claimed the U.S. Senate seat long occupied by Democratic lion Edward Kennedy:
• Was a wild teenager from a broken home whose parents were divorced four times each.
• Was arrested when he was 12 for shoplifting.
• Once posed naked for Cosmopolitan's "America's Sexiest Man" feature to pay for law school.
• Is married to Gail Huff, an on-air reporter for WCVB in Boston and a former actor.
• Has two daughters, Ayla, 21, a semifinalist in 2007 on American Idol and a Boston College basketball star, and Arianna, 19, a premed student at Syracuse University.
A disciplined triathlete who rises at 5 a.m. to train, Brown, 50, calls himself a Type A, driven personality. "I'm always doing something, whether I'm home watching TV, I'm always maybe licking envelopes or writing notes to people," he told the Boston Globe.
He is considered one of the more conservative members of the Democratic-led Massachusetts Senate, but he may be hard to pigeonhole in Washington. He supports abortion rights but opposes the procedure some call partial birth abortion. He supported Massachusetts' health care reform in 2006, which resembles the U.S. Senate bill passed before Christmas. Yet he has pledged to give Republicans their 41st vote in the Senate to thwart the bill. He also opposes same-sex marriage.
Brown is a lieutenant colonel with the Massachusetts National Guard and a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. He supported President Barack Obama's troop escalation in Afghanistan but has never been deployed to a war zone.
A practicing real estate lawyer, Brown launched his successful electoral career in the early '90s, and in the last 10 years he has served in the state House and Senate.
Brown's GMC truck, with nearly 200,000 miles on the odometer, became the symbol of his regular-guy campaign, but experts say he also ran a smart net-roots effort, mobilizing conservative activists in the same way Obama energized liberals in 2008.
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart loved the truck. Offering a harbinger of what Brown can expect when he gets to Washington, the comedian quipped this week: "The Kennedy legacy goes down to a naked guy who owns a truck."