Return of the native.

New Hampshire Rejects Scott Brown Transplant

Margaret Carlson is a Bloomberg View columnist. She was a White House correspondent for Time, a weekly panelist on CNN’s “Capital Gang” and an editor at the New Republic.
Read More.
a | A

In the end, Scott Brown couldn't pull it off: New Hampshire voters stuck with their incumbent Democratic senator, Jeanne Shaheen. It was a squeaker -- 51 percent to 49 percent, according to early results -- which seems preposterous given that Brown, a former Massachusetts senator, had decided to just cross the border, like an unaccompanied minor looking for a better life, and get himself a Senate seat in the Granite State.

Smarting from his defeat for a second term in Massachusetts by a Democrat, Elizabeth Warren, he seemed to think he was owed a seat somewhere. He'd lived in New Hampshire as a toddler and vacationed there as an adult, so why not be senator as a mature man not ready to live life as a private citizen.

It appeared to be working. In his pickup truck, his open collars, his tousled hair, "America's Sexiest Man" for 1982 won his primary (against two people who actually lived in New Hampshire) and proceeded to challenge Shaheen in every coffee shop, church basement and county park. His legend preceeded him. In 2010, as an unknown Massachusetts state legislator, he took on Attorney General Martha Coakley in a 3-1 Democratic state. He had the nerve to morph his face into JFK's in an ad, stealing Camelot, and won.

In New Hampshire, Brown tried to morph Shaheen into President Barack Obama. Having previously served as governor, Shaheen knows her state. She found a sweet spot of being loyal to the president while taking some distance (she said she would tweak Obamacare). Her fellow Democrat in Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, hadn't been as smart: She wouldn't say if she voted for Obama and then wasted her last debate against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell by stubbornly refusing to back off her stupidity.

Lesson learned, thanks to former and not to be again Senator Brown: It turns out you can't drive across a state line and grab an election.

And two other things:

Women don't have parity with men in politics but they've set one record: Two different women have beat Brown two different times in two different states. Brava.

Secondly, each state can have two senators, but one senator can't have two states.

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

To contact the author on this story:
Margaret Carlson at mcarlson3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net