Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) is lunching Tuesday with the Senate Democratic conference, a group that he hopes to join in 2011.

Hodes, a two-term House member, is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R).

"I'm introducing myself to the senators," Hodes told The Hill outside the lunch in the Capitol.

Hodes is one of the top recruits of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.). The Granite State's other House member, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, had considered running against Hodes for the Democratic nomination for Senate, but she later said she would seek another House term.

One possible general election opponent for Hodes is former Rep. Charlie Bass (R), whom Hodes defeated in a 2006 House race. Bass, a centrist who once tried to spark a GOP revolt against powerful House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), is mulling a Senate run and a bid to recapture his old House seat.