When Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., was facing reelection in 1998, The Cook Political Report wrote that he was running an ineffectual campaign with horrible advertising. Not surprisingly, Reid’s aides let us know they didn’t appreciate the analysis and didn’t agree with it. As it turned out, Reid was elected to a third term by the narrowest of margins, beating his Republican challenger (and now Senate…
The following is an address that you should hear from the Oval Office, but don’t hold your breath. My fellow Americans, for several generations we have been warned by a procession of business and governmental leaders that our country was on an unsustainable course. Quite simply for too long, the federal government has been spending too much, bringing in too little and making promises for Social S…
The irony of midterm elections is that sometimes the smartest, best-organized party committees fall victim to the most devastating waves. That was true in 2006, when the National Republican Congressional Committee made a heroic but unsuccessful effort to defend the party’s majority under horrific conditions, and it is equally true of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year. Unde…
The outcome of last week’s 37 gubernatorial contests produced a rare result. Once the votes were counted and the dust settled, both parties came away with some legitimate bragging rights. Even so, a look beneath the results reveals that there may be less than meets the eye in the outcome. In a variation on FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver’s theory that 2010 was an “alignment election” in the H…
Whenever I’m asked what the biggest surprise was for me in this election, I confess that there were several, but not many occurred on election night. I was stunned by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s GOP primary loss, something I did not see coming. Further, one might have thought that a campaign that was completely unaware of danger during a primary challenge would not be able to turn on a dime to p…
In a matter of hours, the votes -- at least most of them -- will be counted, and we will know what happened. Some candidates will be rejoicing in the results but soon will be bracing themselves for the responsibility of governing; others will find themselves drained and disappointed, their influence diminished or gone. My sense is that in the House we will see an outcome that is the closest thing…
This election was an odd mix. On the House side, it was a nationalized, parliamentary election where the party affiliation of candidates was all-important. In the Senate and gubernatorial races, where Republican gains were not of the same magnitude as in the House, party affiliation was also important but so too were the personalities and records of individual candidates. Republicans should tread…
This election cycle has taken a very strange path for both Senate Democrats and Republicans. When the cycle started two years ago this week, it appeared that Democrats might be in a position to gain seats. But, as the political universe is prone to do, it handed both parties a series of surprises. Retirements, Senate appointments, the deaths of Sens. Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and Robert Byrd…
For all the strange twists and turns this election cycle has taken, it seems almost hard to believe that Election Day is tomorrow. Whether they voted early, cast an absentee ballot or mailed one in, voters in 37 states will elect Senators tomorrow. Democrats are defending 19 seats to 18 for Republicans. There are 15 open seats; seven held by Democrats and eight held by Republicans. At this poi…
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. In 2016, 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 has been helped by open seats, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. Wth two weeks before Election Day, Democrats appear to be on track to pick up between four and six seats.
The 2016 election resulted in a House breakdown of 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats, with one Louisiana seat headed to a December 10 runoff that is very likely to be won by a Republican. Democrats scored a net gain of six seats, a disappointing result for a party that had hoped to pick up more than 15 and cut the GOP's majority in half. Democrats' best hope for a majority in 2018 would be an unpopular President Donald Trump. But given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it could still be very difficult for Democrats to pick up the 24 seats they would need.
The 2016 cycle will host 12 gubernatorial contests, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending eight seats to four for Republicans. The marquis contests will be the Democratic-held open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, 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.
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Charlie Cook's Column
A Presidency Headed in the Wrong DirectionMarch 28, 2017
Nobody knows where this nascent Donald Trump presidency is going. New administrations start off with an infinite number of potential trajectories, but this one is even more unpredictable than others. Trump could still turn out to be a successful president. As an American, I certainly hope he will. But today at least, it looks more like a “death by a thousand cuts.”Read more »
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In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.Download »