Anybody who thinks politics is boring and predictable obviously has not been watching the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. At the beginning of the year, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was the nominal front-runner for the party's nod, with Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri all trying to break through. For…
Over the past decade, there were elections in which 80, 90, 120, even 150 congressional districts were potentially competitive. Yet in 2004, because of incumbent-protection redistricting decisions, only about three dozen House races are expected to be close. And probably a mere handful of seats will end up changing parties. Some House districts that had looked as if they would produce competitive…
Perhaps the most important recent development in any competitive Senate race was the announcement by freshman Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina that he won't seek re-election. His retirement creates yet another open seat for the Democrats to defend in the South. On one level, Edwards's decision to devote all of his campaign energy to his presidential bid was hardly a shock. Although North Carol…
For political junkies, it's good that there's a spirited fight for the Democratic presidential nomination and uncertainty about President Bush's vulnerability, because the competition for the House and Senate has been largely out of sight and out of mind. Even so, recent weeks have produced developments of real consequence for the 2004 congressional elections. In the House, the biggest news is th…
The economy is weak and sputtering. The military occupation of Iraq is not going smoothly. Attempts to provide the promised prescription drug benefit are in disarray. And the federal budget deficit is…
Philadelphia, Miss. -- Any list of truly unique American political events would have to include Mississippi's Neshoba County Fair. Since its start in 1889, the Neshoba fair has come to play an important role in Southern politics. Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 general election presidential campaign here. And, despite the Republicans' strength in this part of east-central Mississippi, Sen. John…
An eerie gravitational force seems to keep pulling President Bush's job-approval numbers back down toward the mid-50s soon after they've bounced into higher territory. We saw this in 2001, with Bus…
The downward drift in President Bush's approval ratings that began after the major hostilities in Iraq ended on May 1 have continued through July, and, if preliminary numbers hold, even through the ki…
In recent days, House Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have been criticized for recruiting few top-drawer candidates to 2004 House races. The larger story is that both parties are fielding few strong, nonincumbent House candidates. Furthermore, very few districts look as if they will really be competitive. With the vast majority of districts now tailor-made for one par…
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
Trump’s Policies Are a Result of On-the-Job TrainingApril 20, 2017
The media and critics on the Left are having a field day attacking President Trump’s rather numerous and often dramatic changes of heart on policy—whether China manipulates its currency, the necessity of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and NATO, and the U.S.’s strategic posture in Syria.Read more »
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In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.Download »