The former Massachusetts senator is hoping the people of New Hampshire will send him back to Washington. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Scott Brown, Long-Distance Runner

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown appears to be trying to return to the Senate, this time from New Hampshire. He's hiring staff, and has given up his Fox News contract as he forms an exploratory committee. So I guess he's in.

For a Republican, New Hampshire is an easier place than Massachusetts, but Brown still will have to beat a fairly popular Democrat, first-termer Jeanne Shaheen. If he gets the nomination. First, he'll at least need to get past former (New Hampshire) Senator Bob Smith, who lost a primary to John Sununu in 2002, and has since then run for the Senate twice ... from Florida.

This raises the question of whether carpetbagging is going to be a new political trend. That's probably jumping the gun a bit. At this point, Smith more closely resembles the stereotypical "perennial candidate" than a serious politician, and Brown hasn't won anything outside of Massachusetts. Politicians (and political operatives) are copycats: If Brown wins, then the odds are someone else will try something similar, and we'll have another bit of evidence for the nationalization of U.S. politics. My guess is that although there is a chance he could win, Brown is more likely to become a punch line (like wannabe carpetbagger Harold Ford).

One thing is certain: Anold postof mine about Brown's future has turned out to be wrong. In early 2010, I predicted that he had three possible paths. He could be a genuine moderate, perhaps with a focus on bringing pork to his state, achieving a long Senate career; he could go hard conservative and run for president; or he could try to stay conservative enough to keep Tea Partyers with him -- while trying to remain sufficiently moderate for Massachusetts -- which would lead to his defeat for re-election. I thought that last outcome was most likely, particularly after his defeat in 2012. I hadn't at all considered the possibility that he'd go shopping for a state that fits his profile.

Should be a fun contest to watch.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

(Jonathan Bernstein covers U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. He is co-editor of "The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012." Follow him onTwitter at @JBPlainblog.)

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