Can Scott Brown make carpetbagging cool again?

People travel from Massachusetts into New Hampshire every day for work, school or to buy cheap booze.

Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) hopes crossing the state line will be his ticket back into the United States Senate.

Brown was elected to the Senate in 2010 but he lost his reelection bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012.

He moved his primary residence to New Hampshire last year. In April, he announced his run for Senate from the Granite State.

Brown’s state swap earned him the label of carpetbagger—a pejorative term for a politician who runs for office in a state where he has only lived for a short time. Brown is locked in a tight race with incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), and she has driven home the carpetbagger theme on the campaign trail.

When Brown jumped into the race in April, Shaheen took a not-so-subtle swipe at his outsider status.

“I’ve been working for the people of New Hampshire for the past 18 years. This is my home. This is where my kids grew up,” she said. “My goal has been to serve the people of New Hampshire, not to serve myself.”

In response, Brown has emphasized of his New Hampshire roots, talking up his time spent there as a child in campaign videos and Instagram photos. .

A photo posted by Scott Brown (@senscottbrown) on

Still, his move to New Hampshire even has some of his supporters tongue tied. Check out this awkward introduction Brown received from Chris Sununu, a Republican executive council member, during a September campaign rally:

“Carpetbagging has been underneath the surface all year,” said James Pindell, political reporter for WMUR. “You can’t deny the fact that here’s a guy who became a resident of New Hampshire and in the same year is hoping to be elected to the U.S. senate from that state.”

Scott Brown Announces His Candidacy For New Hampshire Senate SeatPeople demonstrate outside where Scott Brown was to formally announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel April 10, 2014 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Darren McCollester/Getty)

If Brown wins, he will be making carpetbagging history. Only two senators have represented more than one state. The last person to pull it off was Democrat James Shields in 1879, who was elected as senator from Missouri after previously representing Illinois and Minnesota.

More recently, prominent politicians in both political parties have been charged as carpetbaggers. Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago, moved to Arkansas, married Bill Clinton, and became First Lady in 1993. Seven years later, she was running for Senate from New York.


First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton tries on her new New York Yankees hat as she stands next to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at the White House, June 10, 1999. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

But Brown could look to another 19th century political icon for inspiration. Daniel Webster became famous as a senator from Massachusetts, but he was born in New Hampshire and was elected to the House of Representatives from that state.

Since 1974, Webster’s desk has been assigned to the senior senator from New Hampshire. It is currently occupied by Brown’s opponent, Shaheen.

-Video shot by Geneva Sands and edited by Pat O’Gara.