Scott Brown Changes the Senate Math
Moderate GOP votes up for grabs mean 56 could be Dems' new 60
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2010 5:41 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2010 7:56 AM CST
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010, after being sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Yesterday's Senate vote to end debate on the jobs bill showed that losing the supermajority may not be such a disaster for the Democrats after all, writes Nate Silver. Scott Brown joined four other moderate Republicans in voting to end a filibuster on Harry Reid's jobs bill, suggesting that a bipartisan outcome is possible even when a bipartisan process is abandoned—as happened with yesterday's bill, Silver writes at FiveThirtyEight.

Two of the five Republicans who voted for cloture are stepping down this year, Silver writes, but moderate Republican Mike Castle from Delaware will likely be joining Brown, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins next January. If the Democrats can manage to hold onto 56 seats in the new Senate—a big if, Silver notes—then they should find that four-vote GOP block will be up for grabs on almost any issue.