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Kentucky House|By David Wasserman, November 13, 2015

Like a craft bourbon, Kentucky's Democrats seem to have distilled to just a few urban centers, Louisville and Lexington, while their support everywhere else in the state seems to have evaporated. Nowhere was that more acutely on display than in last week's governor's race, in which Democratic nominee Jack Conway got clobbered in rural counties and Republican Matt Bevin won a surprisingly large...

Kansas House|By David Wasserman, November 13, 2015

Kansas was supposed to be the exception to the 2014 GOP wave thanks to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's unpopularity, but Democrats high hopes for gains were dashed across the board. Instead, Brownback won reelection 50 percent to 46 percent, Sen. Pat Roberts survived a scare, and all four GOP House incumbents were reelected easily. It looks likely Kansas's streak as a one-party state will persist...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, November 11, 2015

If you read the coverage of the October jobs report you'd think Americans should have been popping champagne and singing happy days are here again. Jobs up. Wages up. Unemployment down.

GOVERNORS OVERVIEW|By Charlie Cook, November 10, 2015

Just a week ago, before the off-year elections, Democratic strategists were feeling bullish about their prospects in the South. In Louisiana, a Democrat had surpassed the state’s senior senator on October 24 in the first round of voting for the next governor. In Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, opinion polls showed Jack Conway, the state’s Democratic attorney general, holding a small but...

Senate Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, November 6, 2015

In their quest to take back the Senate majority, Democratic strategists seem to believe that women candidates may well be the key to their success. In as many as eight races, it’s possible that the Democratic nominee will be a woman.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, November 5, 2015

To the many confounding things about the 2016 GOP primary (the staying power of Trump and Carson, Walker’s early exit), we can add the question of where Carly Fiorina fits into all of this. She’s neither a pure “outsider” a la Ben Carson and Donald Trump, nor an insider like Jeb Bush. Her strong performance at the September GOP debate got her buzz and boosted her poll numbers. Since then,...

Senate FEC Report|November 5, 2015

Senate FEC reports for the third 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.

POLITICAL ADVERTISING|By Elizabeth Wilner, November 4, 2015

When it comes to political advertising, the focus is usually on the advertisers, not the sellers. Yet the meltdown of the Republican debate process has become a story of sellers supposedly behaving badly: a greedy CNBC, and CNN before that, keeping candidates standing on stage for hours just to sell that many more ad slots for up to $250,000 a pop.

National Politics|By David Wasserman, November 4, 2015

In a few months, after Iowa and New Hampshire begin to winnow the field, the GOP nomination race could boil down to an epic final between a candidate with a more pragmatic image, such as Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina or Jeb Bush, and a more conservative one, such as Ted Cruz, Ben Carson or Donald Trump.

  • 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 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats and one vacancy. Thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's natural midterm turnout advantages, Republicans gained 13 seats in 2014, their largest share 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, netting the 30 seats they need for a majority looks like an unrealistic goal today. Today, our outlook is a Democratic gain in the 5-10 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 22  |  Hanna (R)

Likely R
Solid R

New York  |  District 11  |  Donovan (R)

Likely R
Solid R

New Mexico  |  District 02  |  Pearce (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Louisiana  |  Governor  |  Jindal (R)

Lean D
Toss Up

Utah  |  District 04  |  Love (R)

Lean R
Likely R

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    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Charlie Cook's Column

Of Paris and (Would-Be) Presidents

November 24, 2015

Last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris amounted to a 9/11 event for the French and, for Americans, a vivid memory of that horrific day 14 years ago. It also reminds us that we could very well have another—experts say it’s almost inevitable. So, what effect will the tragedy in Paris have on the U.S. presidential campaign and next year’s election? The short answer: Ask me again in 50 weeks.

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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, Senior 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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Michael Nelson, Contributing and Book Editor

Michael Nelson, Rhodes College. Mike writes about the American presidency and presidential elections and has reviewed books frequently for publications ranging from the American Prospect to the Weekly Standard. He has won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for best book on the presidency and executive politics in 2015 and the Southern Political Science Association’s V. O. Key Award for best book on southern politics in 2007.
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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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