Party-Line Voting Makes Scott Brown Part of a Dying Breed in the Senate
By NATE SILVER
Scott P. Brown’s decision not to run in a special Senate race in Massachusetts is a blow to Republican hopes of reclaiming the Senate. Mr. Brown might have had a 50-50 chance of capturing the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry. But Republicans as popular as Mr. Brown are hard to come by in Massachusetts.
Even 10 years ago, Mr. Brown would not have been quite so much of a novelty; there were considerably more Republican senators serving in blue states like Massachusetts, and more Democratic senators serving in red states, than there are today.
We can define the 18 blue states as those that have been won by Democrats in each presidential election since 2000, and the 22 red states as those that have been carried by Republicans in each election during that period. Ten years ago, there were eight Republicans serving in the Senate from the blue states: Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Only Ms. Collins still holds her Senate seat today. She is joined by three new colleagues (Mark Kirk of Illinois, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin) who were elected in the Republican wave year of 2010. But the number of Republican senators in blue states has been cut to four from eight.
There are more Democratic senators from red states than Republican senators from blue states. But the Democratic figure has been on a gradual decline as well, from 14 senators a decade ago to 10 now.