Panic is never a particularly attractive trait. But congressional Republicans were beginning to show some last week. Senate Republicans have been aware for a month or two that their chamber will be "in play" this November. The extreme anxiety among House Republicans, however, is new. One powerful House chairman pulled me aside last week to ask, "Are we in trouble?"&nb…
It's safe to say that the state-by-state battleground on which this presidential campaign is being fought is defined more clearly, and earlier, than any other in modern history. Despite September 11 and two wars, the terrain on which the 2004 campaign is being waged differs only slightly from the one on which the 2000 campaign was fought -- when one party won th…
With just under one month left before the June 1 special election to replace former Republican Rep. William Janklow in South Dakota, the contest between Democrat Stephanie Herseth and Republican Larry Diedrich is starting to hit its stride. Herseth -- the 2002 Democratic nominee who held former four-term Gov. Janklow to 53 percent and the better known of the two candidates -- started the race wit…
If there is any truth to the old saying that nothing is more exhilarating than being shot at and missed, then four-term Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., must feel especially energized. Specter fought off an aggressive challenge from his right by Rep. Pat Toomey, taking 51 percent in Tuesday's Republican primary. Turnout was light, meaning that Specter also defied the axiom that moderates and incumbents…
This is a big week in American politics. The results of today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania will determine whether the GOP will have another difficult open seat to defend, an important factor now that their hold on the upper chamber is in doubt. And President Bush's campaign has launched a new ad targeting Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic nominee, that th…
Heading into Pennsylvania's April 27 Republican primary, campaign strategists on both sides are watching conservative Rep. Pat Toomey mount a strong challenge to moderate four-term incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter. The outcome could determine whether the GOP's tenuous 51-seat majority in the Senate is in serious danger, or whether Senate Republicans are going to fin…
It has been about two months since Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts became the de facto 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, so perhaps it's a good time to stop and assess the state of play. Democrats are happy they got a nominee quickly and with minimal divisiveness within the party, but the honeymoon is over, and they realize Kerry is not necessarily the best candidate in the world. Although c…
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.
The Cook Political Report is...
- A newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative.
– The New York Times
- The bible of the political community.
– Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News "Face the Nation"
- Perhaps the best nonpartisan tracker of Congressional races.
– David Broder, The Washington Post
Charlie Cook's Column
A Loud-Mouthed Fan Becomes Manager of the TeamJanuary 20, 2017
The general parameters are already well known. In November, Americans elected a president who had no government experience of any kind. He was clearly not well-versed in policy issues and had a proclivity to shoot from the hip, saying whatever came to mind, working off of instinct rather than expertise. We have elected outsiders before, but they have been the governor...Read more »
More Columns »
Sign up for Charlie’s columns as they are released on NationalJournal.com »
Amy Walter, National Editor
Elizabeth Wilner, Senior Contributing Editor
The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index (PVI)
The 2014 Partisan Voting Index
Read More »
The Rhodes Cook Letter
In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.Download »