Congressional Republicans and the Obama White House are both on edge these days. That odd-couple combo isn't surprising, given recent events in Pennsylvania and the Gulf of Mexico. Republican officials are sifting through the debris from their special-election defeat in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, searching for clues as to why they lost by 8 percentage points in a district that Jo…
By the end of the week, candidate filing periods will have closed in 43 percent of all congressional districts, including key battlegrounds such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. So this is a good time to check in on the success both parties have had recruiting candidates. There is little doubt that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois has made recruiting a top pr…
As the first independent analyst to push the argument that Democrats would likely suffer significantly higher midterm losses than average for the party in power, I'm scratching my head over the 8-point Democratic margin of victory in the special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. Perhaps Democrats will suffer heavy, but not catastrophic, losses in November, losing fewer than 40…
Election results are never quite as tidy as some analysts suggest. Voters almost always send mixed messages. And they stayed true to form on Tuesday. Yes, the pro-change, anti-incumbent, and anti-Washington sentiments came through, but in the contest that really mattered in terms of trying to sort through clues to November's outcome, the Democratic Party won. That race was the special election to…
To be sure, the general storyline in today's primary elections in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania will be one of establishment/incumbent vs. challenger/insurgent. But the one race that might tell us the most about what to expect in November doesn't fit this mold at all -- the special general election to fill the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha's seat in Pennsylvania's 12th District. While De…
Tuesday’s Senate primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Oregon didn’t produce any surprises in terms of winners and losers. They did, however, reveal that the so-called enthusiasm gap isn’t nearly as wide as many believe. Democratic voters are engaged and turned out to vote Tuesday, especially in Kentucky where the Democratic primary got much less attention from the media than the Rep…
Less than six months from Election Day, the House is on a knife's edge. For Democrats, the erosion in support we began seeing last summer has only become more prevalent and has exposed dozens more Democratic seats to real danger. Whereas less than 40 percent of the Senate is up for election in November, the full House will feel the dramatic shift in national atmospherics from 2008 to 2010. To the…
Two strong winds are blowing through the U.S. political world, as events of the past week have made quite clear. The first is an anti-Democratic-incumbent wind, which can be felt in this year's primaries and which claimed 14-term Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., on Tuesday; a ton of polling data reveals the power of this trend. The second is a strongly populist, anti-Washington, anti-Wall Street, and…
While the biggest political story this year has been the Democratic Party's fight to retain its majorities in Congress, a fascinating back-story is developing: the very conservative, populist revolt taking place within the Republican Party. The first development occurred in April 2009 when five-term Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter left the Republican Party to become a Democrat, believing there wa…
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
Two Special Elections Add Suspense to MidtermsApril 25, 2017
Two congressional special elections in as many weeks make clear that while the Republican Party is not in a free fall, things are not copacetic, either. Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes won last week’s special election in Kansas’s 4th District to fill the vacancy created by Mike Pompeo’s nomination to head the CIA, but his 5-point victory was far short of the...Read more »
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