As war with Iraq increasingly appears inevitable, President Bush is walking a precarious political tightrope-attempting to balance his ambitious foreign-policy goals on the one side, and a myriad of economic and domestic challenges on the other. If he falls off that tightrope, he'll likely go down in history as a one-term president. Just for a moment, let's assume that the United States wins the…
Those of you starving for electoral action take heart. Next week's Kentucky gubernatorial primary will be the first statewide election of the 2003-04 election cycle. And this contest pretty much has it all -- scandal, a troubled economy and two messy primary contests. What more could a political junkie want? Scandal-plagued Democratic Gov. Paul Patton is term-limited, and Republicans hope that th…
Getting deeply involved in recruiting Senate candidates and campaigning for them was a bet that paid off handsomely for President Bush and his political advisers in 2002. But as the new election cycle gets under way, the White House is faced with some political situations that are considerably more complicated, particularly in the Senate primaries. What's more, White House operatives are beginning…
Saturday's South Carolina state Democratic Party convention and the first debate among the nine candidates for the party's presidential nomination next year were two of those classic events for journalists and the campaigns alike --- intensely interesting and totally unimportant. While the media and party insiders were offered a great opportunity to size up the candidates and assess their potentia…
Monday's Washington Post story by Mike Allen and Dan Balz outlining the White House's plan for the 2004 Bush re-election campaign got tongues wagging around Washington on a number of levels, chiefly the figure that they could raise as much as $250 million for the effort and that the price tag for "Pioneers," the band of major Bush fundraisers, could go from the $100,000 requirement in 2000 to eith…
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's fiery anti-war rhetoric during the Democratic National Committee's meet-the-candidates gathering last week moved him, in effect, from the kids' table to the grownups' table. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, meanwhile, turned in a workmanlike performance that failed to stir his audience. Former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio…
Just as sure as the swallows coming back to San Juan Capistrano is a sign that spring is coming, the onset of presidential candidate cattle shows is a sign that the next campaign has really begun. Seven candidates and soon-to-be candidates addressed the Democratic National Committee meeting Friday and Saturday in Washington. All of the major active candidates were there except for Sens. John Kerry…
Before beginning to size up individual congressional contests at the start of an election cycle, we need to construct an overall framework of important factors to consider. House and Senate elections can be evaluated in two major ways: The first focuses on the macro political factors-those large forces that cross state lines and can affect a majority of the competitive races. How is the national…
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
Two Special Elections Add Suspense to MidtermsApril 25, 2017
Two congressional special elections in as many weeks make clear that while the Republican Party is not in a free fall, things are not copacetic, either. Republican state Treasurer Ron Estes won last week’s special election in Kansas’s 4th District to fill the vacancy created by Mike Pompeo’s nomination to head the CIA, but his 5-point victory was far short of the...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 »