Our most up-to-date take on 2018's Senate races
For those of us who revere Congress and, in my case, particularly the Senate, having first worked there as an intern 44 years ago, these are sad times. Partisanship is strangling what was long a functioning and effective institution, whose slow pace was in keeping with its claim to be the world’s greatest deliberative body. Republicans acted shamefully last year by...
In the final hours of the special election to replace new CIA Director Mike Pompeo in Wichita, Kansas, Republicans are expressing alarm that Democrat James Thompson is within striking distance of carrying a seat President Trump won by 27 points last November. Although GOP state Treasurer Ron Estes remains the favorite heading into Election Day, we are shifting our rating from Likely Republican...
If you could be a fly on the wall eavesdropping on a meeting these days, only one would be more interesting than the brainstorming sessions that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are having with their respective leadership teams. It would be the meeting at which White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and his legislative-affairs...
In a sign of the times, there's mounting GOP concern in an unlikely place: Wichita, Kansas. With four days to go until the April 11 special election to replace new CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the NRCC has gone up with a last-minute ad buy to shore up GOP State Treasurer Ron Estes's standing. In February, Democratic nominee and civil rights attorney James Thompson's own campaign poll showed him...
If schadenfreude made a sound, D.C. would be reverberating with it. Democrats and #NeverTrump-ers are gleefully gloating as the Trump administration stumbles and fumbles its way through its first 100 days. With his party unable to coalesce around the “easy” stuff like an Obamacare repeal/replace plan, the White House is reaching out to moderate Democrats in an effort to boost their chances of...
Soon after Donald Trump was elected president it became strikingly clear that these would be no ordinary times, to borrow the title from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II. Any comparison with the Roosevelts ends there, but the conclusion that there would be no normal days is even more true now than it appeared four months...
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
No Easy Wins for GOP Lawmakers Under TrumpJune 23, 2017
For congressional Republicans in the new norm of the Trump presidency, nothing is easy, and everything is hard. Raising the debt ceiling in order to keep the government from defaulting on its debt is normally easy; now it is hard. Passing an omnibus budget bill to simply keep the government operating (forget the idea of passing the full battery of 12 appropriations...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 »