U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has painted himself as a senator who can effectively bridge party lines.
Saturday, he picked up an endorsement that shows he's drawing bipartisan support in Gloucester and across Cape Ann as well.
Anthony Verga, Gloucester's former seven-term state representative, formally endorsed Brown over Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Senate race during an informal gathering with Brown in attendance Saturday at Lobsta Land restaurant.
The announcement by Verga, who served from 1995 though 2008 as the State House representative for the district that now includes Gloucester, Rockport and Essex, drew a number of other local political leaders, including Gloucester city councilors Bob Whynott and Sefatia Romeo Theken, and state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester. Tarr served alongside Brown in the state Senate before Brown earned his U.S. Senate seat with a special election victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley in January 2010 following the passing of iconic U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.
The endorsement by Verga of Brown comes at a time when both U.S. Senate candidates are stepping up their visits to Cape Ann. A week earlier, Warren held a meeting with Gloucester fishermen and local officials at The Gloucester House, then visited the Times — accompanied at both stops by current state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante.
Ferrante, now in the final months of her second term, captured her State House seat by ousting Verga in a contentious 2008 Democratic primary.