Nate Silver’s not betting on Brown

Scott Brown ‘s move to New Hampshire, and his impending run against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, have set area political circles aflame. That’s the power of Brown’s political celebrity. He plays well in the press because the guy loves the camera and he delivers fantastic copy. Just this week, he told the AP, “Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. ‘Cause, you know, whatever. But I do have strong ties to this state.” But at this stage, it’s looking like the legacy of Brown’s political comeback tour will come in the form of impressive Twitter photo-ops, not in a changed Senate map. Politically, it doesn’t look like Brown’s New Hampshire Senate run has changed anything.

Nate Silver published his 2014 Senate forecast this week. The political statistician believes that Republicans are in position to have a huge year. Silver’s model gives the Republicans a slight chance of regaining control of the Senate. It paints four Democratic-held Senate seats as likely Republican pickups, and has another four Democratic-held seats as tossups. Republicans need to flip six seats into their column to retake the Senate. But, according to Silver’s model, Brown’s challenge to Shaheen only figures tangentially in the GOP’s Senate calculus.

Silver’s forecast model currently gives Brown only a 25 percent chance of toppling Shaheen. Those are among the longest odds Silver has set in plausibly competitive Senate matchups. According to Silver’s current model, Brown is as likely to win in New Hampshire as Alison Lundergan Grimes has of toppling Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Silver ranks Senate contests in Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas as more competitive than the Brown-Shaheen contest.

Silver cites recent polls showing Brown’s relative unpopularity, and New Hampshire’s consistent Democratic tilt over the past several election cycles. Just as importantly, he writes, is the fact that Shaheen is a relatively popular incumbent. She has, Silver writes, consistently posted approval ratings “that would be good enough to get her re-elected.” It’s not that Silver and his crew at FiveThirtyEight are ruling out a Brown victory — there’s still a one-in-four chance of the race turning in his favor. But Silver’s conclusion is almost more damning to Brown, personally, than the race’s long odds are worrisome, politically. For all his star power, Silver writes, Brown hasn’t moved the needle in New Hampshire yet: “We don’t think Brown improves the GOP’s chances much as compared with another credible candidate.”



Gov. Deval Patrick is pumping $25 million into a Haverhill veterans’ housing project, NECN reports.


Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has severed the contract with the developer of the $1.6 billion makeover of the downtown and must now find a new partner to reboot the stalled project.

Former state rep David Torrisi is facing many potential conflicts in his role as a lobbyist, the Eagle-Tribune reports. He represents Patriot Ambulance, which was vying for the Lawrence ambulance contract against Lawrence General Hospital, on whose board Torrisi sits. Torrisi’s sister is also Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera’s chief of staff.

Boston launches a gun buyback program, WBUR reports.


Mohegan Sun , which is vying for a casino license in Revere, has agreed to partner with seven performing arts centers in the state to make sure they aren’t adversely affected by the new gaming venues. Lowell Memorial Auditorium is one of the venues.


The Supreme Court today will hear the latest challenge to Obamacare over the mandate requiring contraception coverage.

A state house speaker under investigation, with rumors of criminal charges to follow? No, not in Boston, where that has been the case with the three previous House speakers, but in Rhode Island, where the Ocean State is finally reasserting its reputation as home to a rogues’ gallery of crooked pols.

While New Hampshire prepares for an onslaught of outside spending in its US Senate race, towns across the Granite State are going on record against the Citizens United ruling that opened the corporate-spending floodgates, writes John Nichols in The Nation.

Georgia advances a sweeping loosening of its gun laws; Gabrielle Giffords calls the bill a “guns everywhere” proposal.


Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter, who said four years ago he probably wouldn’t run for a third term, announced he will run for reelection this year.


Could Boston’s luxury-housing building boom go bust with oversupply?

Tumbledown, a movie featuring Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall, will be the first to use the New England Studios facility in Devens, the Sun reports.

The Walt Disney Co. buys a video production network on YouTube for $500 million, Reuters reports.

A survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy finds that a booming stock market has increased the assets of the nation’s largest foundations to their highest levels since the recession began in 2007.


A compromise offered by two lawmakers would put charter schools and regular schools in the same boat on Beacon Hill, State House News reports. WBUR offers a good primer on the charter school debate.

Indiana becomes the first state to drop the national Common Core education standards. Massachusetts education commissioner Mitchell Chester and the Pioneer Institute‘s Jim Stergios debated the standards in CommonWealth‘s Summer 2013 issue.


The Globe publishes an investigation by the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica looking at the conflicts of interest in pharmaceutical company-sponsored research of doctors, including an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center. The specialist ranked fourth in total payments among 1,300 researchers nationwide who receive money from a pharmaceutical company for both research as well as speaking and consulting fees.


With new state funds unlikely, municipalities needs to pursue local option taxes to strengthen the transportation network, a new Perspective in CommonWealth argues.

Even though Keolis Commuter Systems was awarded the state’s commuter rail contract more than three months ago, the firm still doesn’t have a permanent general manager in place to run the operation.


U.S. News & World Report spotlights dozens of oil spills in the United States since the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 10 million gallons 25 years ago this week. The magazine points out that while the Valdez spill was once the world’s worst environmental disaster, it no longer ranks in the top 50 largest oil spills worldwide.

A Japanese firm is acquiring a unit of the Waltham-based battery maker A123 Systems.


Boston magazine catches up with the runners who gave their shoes for the magazine’s Marathon cover last year.