Convention: Blue State Sen. Brown (R) Doesn’t Shy Away from Ruby Red Event

Nathan L. Gonzales August 30, 2012 · 6:08 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sen. Scott Brown (R) may need a half a million Obama voters to get re-elected in Massachusetts, but that’s not keeping him away from appearing at the Republican Party’s biggest event.

“Mitt Romney is his friend,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior advisor to both Brown and the former Massachusetts governor, in an interview with RPR from the convention center on Thursday. Brown faces former Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren (D) in one of the country’s most competitive general elections in the fall.

While there are potential electoral consequences for Brown for appearing at such a partisan event, the incumbent is using it as an opportunity to demonstrate his differences with a national party that is more conservative than he is.

“It’s a special day for Massachusetts,” Brown said a few hours later to a couple dozen reporters at a nearby Marriott hotel, “We have somebody who’s going to be nominated to run for president of the United States. And I think that’s a good thing for our state.”

“While I don’t agree with everything in the platform or with Gov. Romney, I have a lot of respect for him, and vice versa,” Brown added. The incumbent senator is clearly trying to balance being close to Romney and distancing himself. Fehrnstrom pointed out that Brown occasionally voted to override Gov. Romney’s vetoes, particularly on social issues, but also witnessed one of presidential nominee’s key talking points.

“What Scott Brown saw was [Romney’s] ability to take on a tough situation and turn things around,” Fehrnstrom added about the state of the Bay State’s economy under Romney.

Brown, who just arrived at the convention on Thursday morning, also said he was looking forward to seeing his daughter, Ayla, who sang the National Anthem to open the convention on Wednesday evening. Brown declined to play an official role at the convention, which is a stark contrast to Warren, who will speak before President Bill Clinton on Wednesday night in Charlotte.