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Senate FEC Report|February 20, 2015

Senate FEC reports for the fourth quarter of 2014 are now available. Web Editor Ally Flinn has compiled the chart below that provides the year-end numbers for 2014, including cash-on-hand totals for 2016 incumbents, as well as selected U.S. House Members who have been mentioned as potential Senate candidates.

Alabama House|By David Wasserman, February 20, 2015

Alabama may be in the throes of a major cultural fight over State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's refusal to abide by a federal court's ruling legalizing same sex marriage. But it's not a state that's going to host a competitive congressional election next November. In fact, the only district worth watching at this point might be the Montgomery area 2nd CD, where GOP Rep. Martha Roby...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, February 19, 2015

One of the biggest assets for Democrats – especially for Hillary Clinton – going into this next election is the fact that they are much more ideologically united than the GOP. From social issues to economic ones, the overwhelming majority of Democrats are on the same page. This, of course, leaves little room for a primary challenger to Hillary Clinton to expose a gap or drive a wedge.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, February 17, 2015

Americans by our nature are easily given to outrage, anxious to stop invaders as well as to avenge atrocities. Standing idly on the sidelines is not our way. Recent barbaric acts committed by Islamic State extremists, including the beheadings of Westerners and the immolation in a cage of a Jordanian air force pilot, shocked the nation. Now we learn of the death of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, February 17, 2015

Now that the second round of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is wrapping up, how did health insurer TV advertising during Round Two compare to that of Round One? A few key shifts occurred: Insurers spent more intensely this time around and were more willing to invest in ads that positively promoted healthcare reform. Insurers aren't the only advertisers with skin in the ACA...

Mississippi House|By David Wasserman, February 13, 2015

GOP Rep. Alan Nunnelee's death last week following a battle with brain cancer means there will be a special election in northern Mississippi's 1st CD for the second time in seven years. In 2008, when then-Rep. Roger Wicker was appointed to the Senate, Democrats capitalized on a regional GOP split and captured the seat in a huge upset. In 2015, however, the circumstances are quite different and...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, February 12, 2015

From the time I moved to Washington, in 1972, through 2012, 46 sitting senators ran for president—publicly declaring their candidacies and/or putting their names on at least one primary or caucus ballot—not to mention 17 other former members of the Senate who also gave it a shot. Obviously some of their candidacies didn't even make it to the Iowa caucuses or to the New Hampshire primary, let...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, February 11, 2015

Before every presidential election, we chew over the question of whether this will be a foreign policy or a domestic election. Will we be talking about "security moms" or "soccer moms"?

POLITICAL ADVERTISING|By Elizabeth Wilner, February 10, 2015

Usually, when a show or media platform lands in the hot seat because of ill-judged statements by its host, we hear rumblings about regular advertisers pulling out. Not so with “NBC Nightly News” and Brian Williams.

  • 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.

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Columnists

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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