In the wake of Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts last week, the conventional wisdom is that he’ll be defeated should he run for reelection in 2012. But, those who forecast his defeat should bear in mind that four years after William Weld was elected Governor of the Bay State in 1990, he won by a margin of over 2 to 1, defeating a Democrat with a hallowed name on that side of the political aisle, Mark Roosevelt.
Now, to be sure, Brown is a different situation, running for a second term in a federal office. And Bay State voters have been more willing to give Republicans the keys to the State House than berths inside the Beltway. But, one reason Teddy Kennedy did so well in his home state, despite his troubles with alcohol and women, was that he actually attended to the state, assembling a top-notch constituent service operation and returning frequently.
Brown can hold the seat that the celebrated Democrat once held by doing what he did, no, not womanizing and carousing, but by returning to the state frequently and connecting with his constituents. He could start by visiting cities, like say, Boston and Pittsfield, where he fared particularly poorly. Within his first seven months in office (i.e., by the end of the summer, before Labor Day) have held a town hall in each of the state’s fourteen counties.
He should also avoid (as much as possible) stumping for his fellow Republicans outside the Bay State, as he will certainly be asked to do. As Peggy puts it, he “needs to avoid the Descent of the Congressional Vampires“:
they’ll want him fund-raising and speaking all over the country, not knowing or perhaps caring that the best work he can do for his party is succeeding in the eyes of his constituents, who couldn’t care less about the fortunes of the GOP. He needs to avoid the vampires in the nicest possible way.
Now, to be sure, he may want to make a jaunt to Arizona to help out John McCain who was one of his earliest backers. And he could stump for a Republican or two (but no more) in the Washington/Boston corridor, say, a brief stop as he drives back and forth between the nation’s capital and his constituents. But, beyond that, if, in the fall, he does stump for Republican candidates, make sure they’re Massachusetts Republicans.
To keep his office and retain his profile on the national stage, he needs first tend to his state.
Then, perhaps, come 2020, he could make a bid for national office, to succeed the then-Republican president stepping down after his second term is up.