Though Brown is far better known than any of his potential Democratic rivals — Reps. Ed Markey, Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch top the current list — he’d also enter his third Senate campaign in four years with fresh wounds and new baggage.

Unlike 2010, when complacent Bay State Democrats were caught off-guard by the handsome state senator donning a Carhartt jacket and driving a pickup, operatives and activists could dust off the playbook Elizabeth Warren followed to an 8-percentage-point win.

And the damaged national Republican brand, which Warren hung on Brown’s neck to great effect, would likely continue to be a burden for the moderate Republican.

“He was exposed,” said Democratic operative Jim Jordan, who was Kerry’s first campaign manager in the senator’s 2004 run for president. “His nastiness [in the campaign] … won’t be forgotten. Ask Rick Santorum or George Allen, Once that veneer of affability is cracked, it really can’t be repaired.”