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Senate FEC Report|April 24, 2015

Senate FEC reports for the first quarter of the 2016 election cycle are now available. Web Editor Ally Flinn has compiled the chart below that provides the cash-on-hand totals for incumbents, as well as selected U.S. House Members who have announced or who have been mentioned as potential Senate candidates.

House Overview|By David Wasserman, April 24, 2015

It's time to face it: congressional elections have moved into an era when there are more competitive primaries than general elections. Nowhere has this been on display more than in open seats, which used to be reliable generators of takeover opportunities. But in the last several cycles, the vast majority of these seats have been signed, sealed, and delivered well in advance of November.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 24, 2015

The term "green shoots" is increasingly being used to describe the first positive signs of growth after an economic downturn. It is now possible to say that we are seeing green shoots on Capitol Hill, signs that the institution of Congress may be becoming a bit less dysfunctional than it has been in recent years.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, April 22, 2015

Almost every hour, it seems, someone is either announcing for President or announcing they are thinking about running for President. There are dozens of stories a day about new hires at SuperPAC's, "Scooby Van" road trips, horse race polls in battleground states, and GOP cattle calls in New Hampshire and Iowa. So much is happening in the race for the White House. And, yet nothing is happening...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 21, 2015

One of the more interesting changes in U.S. politics in recent years has been the increasingly parliamentary nature of voting behavior. Fewer people are straying beyond their party affiliations, we are seeing more straight-ticket voting, and the characteristics of individual candidates mean less than ever. Entering this 2016 presidential cycle, the phenomenon presents a real challenge to...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, April 17, 2015

How successful will Democrats be in convincing potential recruits that a ballot led by Hillary Clinton in 2016 presents their best opportunity for a promotion? Given their historic low point and difficult map, can Democrats compete in seats that gave President Obama between 45 and 50 percent of the vote?

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 17, 2015

As discouraging as the partisanship, polarization, and dysfunction are in Washington these days, I confess to being really excited by the unfolding 2016 presidential campaign. Not that there is another George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan on the immediate horizon, but this race appears to have some really interesting aspects to it.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, April 15, 2015

Americans are feeling better about the economy today than they have in years. For the first time since early 2013, more Americans approve of the job Obama's doing on the economy (48 percent) than disapprove (47 percent). That's good news for Hillary Clinton and Democrats heading into 2016. Yet, Americans remain pretty pessimistic about the overall state of the economy as well as their own...

Florida Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, April 13, 2015

State Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's decision to seek the Republican presidential nomination and thus forego a re-election bid creates the second open GOP seat of the cycle. It also becomes the first Republican seat in the Toss Up column. Had Rubio run for re-election, he would have started the race as the favorite, but an open seat in a swing state in a presidential year will be a much more...

  • In 2014, a good political environment, a weakened Democratic President and several open Democratic-held seats in red states combined to give Senate Republicans a nine-seat gain and the majority. The 2016 cycle looks very different cycle for Republican, as the tables are turned. Republicans will defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats. Of those 24 seats, President Obama carried the states of five of them in 2012 by at least five points, and carried two more by one and three points. Neither party may be helped by open seats as we suspect there won’t be many retirements this cycle, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. It’s still very early, but winning back the majority may prove more challenging than it looks today.

  • The current House breakdown is 245 Republicans and 188 Democrats, with two vacancies. Thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's natural midterm turnout advantages, Republicans gained 13 seats in 2014, and if they win upcoming special elections in New York's 11th CD and Mississippi's 1st CD, they will win their largest number of seats since 1928. Democrats are likely to bounce back somewhat in the presidential cycle of 2016. But given how well sorted-out the House has become, winning the 30 seats they need for a majority looks like an unrealistic goal today. Today, our outlook is a Democratic gain in the 5-15 seat range.

  • The 2016 cycle will host 15 gubernatorial contests, including three races in 2015, and 12 in 2016, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending nine seats to six for Republicans. The most interesting races of 2015 will be the open seats in Kentucky and Louisiana. In 2016, the marquis contests will be the open seat in Missouri and in North Carolina where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is seeking a second term. With so few seats on the ballot, neither party is likely to make significant gains or sustain big losses.

Minnesota  |  District 07  |  Peterson (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Minnesota  |  District 02  |  Kline (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Michigan  |  District 08  |  Bishop (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Michigan  |  District 07  |  Walberg (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Michigan  |  District 01  |  Benishek (R)

Lean R
Likely R

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Charlie Cook's Column

Glimmers of Hope on the Hill

April 24, 2015

The term "green shoots" is increasingly being used to describe the first positive signs of growth after an economic downturn. It is now possible to say that we are seeing green shoots on Capitol Hill, signs that the institution of Congress may be becoming a bit less dysfunctional than it has been in recent years.

Read more »
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Amy Walter, National Editor

Amy Walter is the Cook Political Report's National Editor. In her weekly column, Walter provides analysis of the issues, trends, and events that shape the national political environment.
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Elizabeth Wilner, Contributing Editor

Elizabeth Wilner is Senior Vice President of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence with oversight of its Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), Contributing Editor of The Cook Political Report, and former Political Director of NBC News. Wilner's weekly segment, "On Points," covers the fast-growing junction of advertising, Big Data, and politics.
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The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index (PVI)

The 2014 Partisan Voting Index

Since 1997, the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index (PVI) has been the gold standard in measuring how each state and district performs at the presidential level relative to the nation as a whole. Click below for the breakdown of PVI for every House district in the 113th Congress.
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The Rhodes Cook Letter

In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2014 election.

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