You can’t beat a man at his own game, which is why I always respect the analysis of local political reporters. It was a 2007 lunch with a former New Hampshire reporter, for example, that convinced me John McCain could win The Granite State, and reinvigorate his struggling campaign — a tip that informed my reporting (and helped me avoid writing the premature political obituaries that many of my contemporaries did).
Speaking of New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown recently announced he would run for the Republican nomination to challenge New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and WMUR’s James Pindell had some smart observations about his chances on the Political Wire podcast.
I’ve taken the liberty of distilling (and paraphrasing) Pindell’s arguments on why the “carpetbagger” label won’t stick to Brown into this handy listicle:
1). Around 60 percent of Granite Staters are from somewhere else.
2). New Hampshire has the second largest percentage of citizens who commute to work outside the state.
3). Massachusetts and New Hampshire share a media market. They mostly watch the same news coverage (so they saw Brown’s campaign ads and will view him at least partly as an incumbent.) And they are culturally similar; they root for the same teams (Pats, BoSox, Celts, etc.) The primary difference — that New Hampshire is more conservative — benefits Brown.
4. Scott Brown has deep ties to New Hampshire. Before deciding to run for office there, already owned a summer home in the state. He also spent a lot of time there in his youth. He’s also a great retail campaigner and will be out and about, meeting voters and shaking hands.
5). Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was born in Missouri.
This, of course, is not to say that Scott Brown will win. He will have other obstacles to overcome. But it is to say that his obvious vulnerability — the “carpetbagger issue” — is unlikely to cost him the election.