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National Politics|By John Gable, April 26, 2016

Despite all the noise from both sides of the debate, when you run the numbers, it turns out that Donald Trump could win the nomination on the first ballot precisely because of the GOP’s delegate rules. Ted Cruz also benefits, but not until later ballots. The losers? John Kasich and all the other candidates, and their supporters.

Pennsylvania Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, April 22, 2016

Next Tuesday, voters will witness something that has become as rare as a total solar eclipse: a very competitive Democratic Senate primary in a race that matters. Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, Katie McGinty, who was most recently chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, and businessman Joe Vadvarka are vying for the nomination to take on GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in the...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, April 22, 2016

The likelihood of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as the GOP's presidential nominee has given Democrats newfound optimism about their prospects for down-ballot success in 2016. A Hillary Clinton landslide could force Republicans in swing and light-red districts to run against the top of their own ticket and to argue that they would be needed in Congress as a check on a Clinton agenda.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 22, 2016

This story was originally published on nationaljournal.com on April 18, 2016

National Politics|By Amy Walter, April 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump easily won Tuesday’s New York primary. That was entirely expected and consistent with recent polling. Here’s what the road ahead looks like for the two frontrunners and their closest competitors.

Minnesota House|By David Wasserman, April 19, 2016

On Saturday, Democrats claimed a late recruiting coup when state Sen. Terri Bonoff announced she will challenge four-term GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen in suburban Minneapolis's 3rd CD. Paulsen's moderate demeanor and record are a good fit here: he took 58 percent in 2012 and 62 percent in 2014. But a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz nomination could be problematic for down-ticket Republicans in the 3rd, by...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 19, 2016

This story was originally published on nationaljournal.com on April 14, 2016

House Overview|By David Wasserman, April 15, 2016

It's not quite a mass exodus, but nearly four dozen members of the House are headed for the exits this year. Despite the GOP's historic majority, nearly two thirds are Republicans - including over a dozen members of the class of 2010. The good news for both parties - but especially Republicans - is that a majority of these are safe seats. We currently rate only 13 of these seats as vulnerable,...

National Politics |By Charlie Cook, April 15, 2016

This story was originally published on nationaljournal.com on April 11, 2016

  • 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. In 2014, thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's natural midterm turnout advantages, Republicans picked up 13 seats, winning their largest share of seats since 1928. In 2016, Democrats were already poised to bounce back amid higher presidential turnout, but the prospect of the broadly unpopular Donald Trump as the Republican nominee could put even more GOP seats in jeopardy. Still, given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it would be very difficult for Democrats to net the 30 seats they need for a majority. Today, our outlook is a Democratic gain of 5-15 seats, with substantially larger gains possible if the top of the GOP ticket appears headed for a landslide defeat in November.

  • 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.

Michigan  |  District 11  |  Trott (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Montana  |  At Large  |  Zinke (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Minnesota  |  District 03  |  Paulsen (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Virginia  |  District 05  |  Hurt (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Virginia  |  District 02  |  Rigell (R)

Likely R
Solid R

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Charlie Cook's Column

Trump Couldn’t Possibly Win—Except That He Probably Will

May 3, 2016

This story was originally published on nationaljournal.com on April 28, 2016. The thing that I never thought would happen is really happening. The idea that the Republican Party would nominate Donald Trump—reality TV star, real estate developer, and all-around showboat—seemed ridiculous and, as I kept saying, inconceivable.

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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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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 2016 election.

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