After years of working as a staffer on Capitol Hill, a campaign consultant, a pollster, and a staff member for a political action committee, Charlie Cook founded what was initially called “The National Political Review” in March of 1984 before renaming it later that year to “The Cook Political Report.” Charlie’s idea was to create a non-partisan newsletter that would analyze American political campaigns from the perspective of someone who actually had worked both in campaigns and as a pollster.
Funded with his Senate retirement fund and a bank note co-signed by his father-in-law, in the early years The Cook Political Report was a one-man shop, housed at various times in the basement of Charlie’s home, and in borrowed and then sublet office space near the Capitol.
Two years after starting the newsletter Charlie began writing a column for Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, which he continued to do for 12 years. In 1998, he began writing for National Journal, as he continues to do today.
In 1987, Charlie sold The Cook Political Report to the Government Research Corporation, a Washington-based public policy firm that was later bought by Hill and Knowlton, a global affairs consulting firm.
In 1991, Charlie bought The Cook Political Report back from Hill and Knowlton, and has kept it independent, though it now enjoys a strategic partnership with the National Journal Group. Since 2004, The Cook Political Report has been located in the historic Watergate complex, sharing office space with National Journal and the Atlantic Media Group.
Since its founding, The Cook Political Report has grown from a one-person operation to a full-time staff of six, and has transitioned from a print-only publication to an online platform that offers individual and group subscriptions, as well as site licenses.
Today, 33 years after publishing its first issue, The Cook Political Report has become known and respected both inside the Beltway and around the country as a preeminent source of non-partisan political analysis that many rely on for accurate political forecasting.