BOSTON (CBS) – Scott Brown will formally kickoff his run for US Senate in New Hampshire Thursday night, but his campaign for the GOP nomination to challenge Jeanne Shaheen this fall is already well underway, and it’s looking pretty nasty.

Brown has already called Shaheen “hypocritical,” “self-serving,” a knee-jerk supporter of the dreaded Obamacare, and that most vile conservative epithet, a “liberal.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Shaheen and her allies have been busy painting Brown as a carpetbagger, a phony, and someone so tainted by money from “Big Oil” that he leaves an oil slick on the ground when he walks.

Hey Granite Staters, better buckle in for a spring, summer and fall of perpetual mudslinging, as the two major political parties, fresh off a ten-year stretch of superb management of our country, fight to the death over control of that monument to outstanding leadership, the US Senate.

Assuming Brown gets past his contested party primary, it will be interesting to see if he and Shaheen can somehow, amid the noise, demonstrate willingness and ability to transcend their apparent flaws.

For Shaheen, that means showing she truly understands and is prepared to help fix the obvious problems with federal health-care reform, including excessive, poorly-designed bureaucracy.

She would also do well to show how she intends to be less partisan going forward.

Brown, the pre-“Argo” Ben Affleck of American politics, needs to prove that his at-times expansive ego is in check, and that he’s doing his homework about Obamacare and other issues.

Who’s got the goods?

That’s what voters want to know.

Not who’s got the bigger brass knuckles.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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Jon Keller