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Senate Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, March 5, 2015

If the 2016 Senate races seem to be off to a slow start, it’s because they are – at least in comparison to the last two or three cycles.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, March 5, 2015

I confess to feeling terribly conflicted about the impact of last week's debacle over funding of the Homeland Security Department. There is no question that it was yet another example of Washington appearing dysfunctional and raising questions about what Republicans will be able to do with the House and Senate majorities that they so badly wanted.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, March 4, 2015

Scott Walker in 2015 is a lot like Barack Obama circa 2007; he’s relatively unknown and yet well-known at the same time. Obama’s speech at the DNC in 2004 propelled him to rock-star status among the Democratic faithful, while Walker’s victory over the public sector labor unions in 2011 made him a legend among conservatives. The Wisconsin Governor begins this campaign as a vessel into which...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, March 3, 2015

Just days after the Sept. 15, 2008, fall of Lehman Brothers triggered the biggest financial crisis and stock-market plunge since the crash of 1929, I participated in a panel discussion of political reporters and analysts at a conference sponsored by a large private-equity firm in New York City. Before our panel, the firm's two cofounders spoke to the extremely anxious group of their investors...

Maryland Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, March 2, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski is announcing her retirement today, creating the second open seat of the cycle. Mikulski was elected to the U.S. House in 1976 and to the U.S. Senate in 1986, making her the longest serving woman in Congress. The results of last year's gubernatorial contest notwithstanding, Maryland is a solidly blue state and the Republican bench is

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, February 27, 2015

A decade ago, she reminded me, Democrats invested big in microtargeting to address a specific problem: to eke out extra turnout in the wake of back-to-back, blind-siding presidential losses in 2000 and 2004. "The theory was that if we could get more out of the mobilization, that would prevent us from having the election stolen from us," she said.

Governors Bottom Lines|By Jennifer Duffy, February 27, 2015

The 2016 presidential contest seems to be sucking up all the oxygen in the political atmosphere, making it easy to forget about the three gubernatorial contests that will take place this November. Two of those races – Kentucky and Louisiana – are open-seat contests while Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is seeking a second term in Mississippi.

Arizona House|By David Wasserman, February 27, 2015

Most people don't think things could get any worse for House Democrats. But a Supreme Court case expected to be decided by June could actually cost Democrats two more seats in Arizona, putting them even deeper into the minority.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, February 25, 2015

Although the congressional standoff over the Department of Homeland Security is being framed as a debate over national security, it is, at is core, the latest example of the GOP divide over how to tackle immigration reform. For a party that is already facing demographic challenges and shrinking Electoral College opportunities, the inability to come to agreement on immigration could have...

  • 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.

New York  |  District 19  |  Gibson (R)

Toss Up
Likely R

California  |  Senate  |  Boxer (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Louisiana  |  Senate  |  Landrieu (D)

Toss Up
Lean R

New York  |  District 11  |  Grimm (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

Maryland  |  District 06  |  Delaney (D)

Solid D
Likely D

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Charlie Cook's Column

The GOP's Damage Done

March 5, 2015

I confess to feeling terribly conflicted about the impact of last week's debacle over funding of the Homeland Security Department. There is no question that it was yet another example of Washington appearing dysfunctional and raising questions about what Republicans will be able to do with the House and Senate majorities that they so badly wanted.

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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