Odds of a Scott Brown Comeback: Lower Than You Think

In the last forty years:

93 incumbent Senators were defeated for re-election (not counting the two defeated this year, since we don’t know their futures yet).

9 of those ran for Senate again

6 lost on election day

1 polled so badly that he dropped out before the election

2 won

1 of these winners was kicked out by the voters again later in his Senate career.

The other originally lost his Senate seat in a primary, so his circumstances may not be applicable.

4 ran for Governor

2 lost

2 won

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Brown is definitely part of that diehard 14% who didn’t give up. His odds of recapturing the Senate seat are about 22%. Not nothing, but I wouldn’t call him the favorite. And since there would be a high probability of getting the boot again later even if he won, it’s probably not worth it for him to even try.

His odds at a Gubernatorial seat are 50%.


The takeaway from all of this: You really only get one chance to impress the voters as a Senator. When they say goodbye, they mean it.

If Brown is rational, he’ll go for Governor in 2014, or become a lobbyist and give up on elected office.. The Governor’s race is what we should be afraid of. In the meantime, President Obama should appoint who he wants to his Cabinet. If he genuinely prefers Rice, by all means appoint her. But if Scott Brown is the only thing stopping him from appointing John Kerry, he should appoint Kerry.



4 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Interesting to look at,

    but I don’t think looking at the odds from the rest of the country is representative of the chances Scott Brown would have in a US Senate special election 8 or so months from now. It’s kind of a unique situation here.

    A few reasons:

    1. We wouldn’t have a lot of time to field a candidate, while the GOP has one who can probably raise $10 million+ over the course of the election in the waiting.

    2. As we saw last time there was a special election for Scott Brown here, the national GOP (and the Tea Party) is able to field its resources to help him as its #1 candidate, and do so quite effectively.

    Are we going to get as much help from the national Dems and progressive orgs? Martha Coakley didn’t.

    3. He doesn’t have to worry about a potentially bruising primary.

    4. 8 months is long enough for most people ‘in the middle’ to forget why they didn’t vote for him, but not long enough for them to forget his truck and ‘gosh darn’ likability. We would have to re-teach them about Scott Brown, and have less time to do it in.

    5. In a special, turnout is not going to favor us like it did this past election. Seriously, this could be worth 4-5% of the vote, right there.

    6. There’s little chance of another people’s pledge, and maybe — just maybe — the GOP donors will spend its big dollars more effectively this time around, and not just give the farm away to Karl Rove’s ineffective mean voice shaky-cam ads.

    Don’t get me wrong… I think we can still win. I just think it will be harder than it was to get Warren elected, with less time to do it in.

    It will help if we nominate a great candidate, who will mitigate many of those issues raised above. But knowing whether or not you’ve nominated a good candidate is usually a hindsight is 20-20 thing. Who would have thought Martha Coakley ever would have been so bad in the last special?

    RyansTake   @   Thu 6 Dec 7:50 PM
    • #5 seems the most significant

      The race in Ohio may be apropos here. At the outset of the election season, Sen. Sherrod Brown had a substantial double digit lead over Republican opponents. The state got flooded with money, though, and a lot of it was anti-Sherrod Brown money. (Ohio’s Brown is unpopular with Wall Street.) He still won, but all that money definitely shrank the margin.

      Scott Brown may — or may not — have believed in the idea behind the People’s Pledge, but, more than anything else, Scott Brown believes in his remarkable purity of heart. It’s not hard to imagine him abandoning the (to him) questionable principle behind the people’s pledge for a higher principle, namely the Marvelousness That Is Scott Brown.

    • Agree about #5

      Here are the 2010 and 2012 numbers from Springfield:

      In 2010, Coakley beat Brown 17,673 to 10,672 – a difference of 7,001 votes.
      In 2012, Warren beat Brown 39,520 to 13,888 – a difference of 25,632 votes.

      We need to be able to run up the turnout — and the score — in places like this where we’re strong. Special elections are not friendly.

  2. Some other angles

    Elections are about money, momentum and lots of hard work. Scott Brown had those ingredients and deserved to win the Senate seat because he worked harder thank Coakley. I am one who still believes that the seat is precious and should not go to the establishment candidate just because…..just because.

    Scott’s veneer has worn thin. His voting record is clear and voters of the Commonwealth may lean center right for Governor knowing the Lege is controlled by alleged Democrats (plutocrats in reality), BUT we do not want a Tea Party Poster Boy or Girl as our Senator or Governor.

    MSNBC had a couple of intriguing rips on the TEA Party today and it seems plausible that the support Brown once enjoyed from the wingnuts is done and done.

    The GOP is in tatters with no leadership or cohesiveness. I do not see outside GOP funding or strategic messaging as viable in the near future. Will they rebuild? Ya, sure there is too much greed, avarice and ignorance out there for them not to attempt another morph.

    Brown was just plain not likeable at the closing weeks of the campaign. And even though Gayle and the “girls” – who are adults by the way, “stood by their man,” they all have talent and egos that may just want to recapture a life and identity for themselves. Gayle did not look like a happy woman during either of the Senate campaigns. It’s one thing to give up or down-size your career for your spouse who becomes Senator (although Dr. Biden didn’t), but it’s another to risk never getting back in the studio because you’re a middle aged, slightly overweight woman in an extraordinarily competitive business where appearance – perception as well as physical matter. Just sayin’

    I would be surprised to see him run again. Fame and fortune are big draws but a big lobbyist paycheck is a game changer, too.

« Blue Mass Group Front Page

Add Your Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Mon 24 Apr 3:14 PM