Ken Rudin

Ken Rudin is NPR's Political Junkie. For most of the past 20 years, Rudin has been the eyes and ears of political coverage as political editor. Rudin focuses on all aspects of politics, from presidential elections with the primaries, national conventions, debates and general election, to the races for the House, Senate and state governors. He has analyzed every congressional race in the nation since 1984.

In 2011, Rudin added to his duties by becoming part of the network's StateImpact project. This local-national journalism initiative will add editorial resources and reporters to NPR member stations in all 50 states, to better inform the public about the impact that the actions of state governments has on citizens and communities. Rudin mentors and advises these reporters on covering the effects politics and politicians have on people.

In addition to his role with StateImpact, Rudin continues to contribute NPR's political coverage. Every Wednesday, he can be heard on Talk of the Nation in the "Political Junkie" segment. In his "Political Junkie" weekly column on NPR.org, Rudin previews the politics of the week, and delves into campaign history, strategy and trivia, including the popular ScuttleButton contest.

Rudin was a key player on the NPR team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton award for excellence in broadcast journalism in 2002 for coverage of campaign finance.

From 1983 through 1991, Rudin worked at ABC News, serving first as deputy political director and later as the off-air Capitol Hill reporter covering the House. He first joined NPR in 1991, as its first political editor. Rudin returned to NPR in 1998, after a three-year absence during which he was the managing editor of the Hotline, a daily political newsletter. He also wrote the "Political Graffiti" column for The Hill, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill.

A political junkie for many decades, Rudin has one of the most extensive collections of campaign buttons in the country, a collection that now surpasses 70,000 items. Rudin is a graduate of Pace University in New York.

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Political Junkie
3:12 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

As Polls Show Romney Trailing In Swing States, Obama Edges Towards 270 Goal

It's true that Mitt Romney trails President Obama in most key battleground states, but the margins are in single digits
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 2:04 pm

The election is not over, we are told time and time again, and it's not. There are still some 40-plus days to go, there are still debates to be had. It's true that Mitt Romney trails President Obama in most key battleground states, but the margins are in single digits. And, lest we forget, it's not that presidential candidates down in the polls haven't come from behind to win in the past.

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Political Junkie
3:48 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Numbers Favor Republicans But Path To Senate Majority Is Still Iffy

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon celebrates her win in the Connecticut primary over Chris Shays.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 9:23 am

Two years ago, I asked Texas Sen. John Cornyn, then (and still) the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), if the GOP was going to win enough seats to take back the majority it lost in 2006.

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Political Junkie
4:39 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Obama Got The Convention Bounce, As Well As Bad Economic Numbers

President Barack Obama joins Former President Bill Clinton on stage during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 12:06 pm

  • my chat with Linda Wertheimer

The Democrats were no sooner out of Charlotte when the bad economic news came.

A more disappointing job report than had been forecast. Economic numbers weaker than expected. Just 96,000 jobs were created in August, far fewer than what economists were anticipating. And even a lower unemployment rate — down to 8.1 percent from 8.3 — was explained as that more people had simply stopped looking for work. The hope of four years ago is quickly becoming a fading memory, especially for those whose lives have not seen the change Barack Obama once promised.

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Election 2012
5:37 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Running Mate Scorecard: Ups And Downs Since 1964

GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, his running mate, George Bush, and their wives, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, wave from the podium at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit on July 17. In picking Bush, Reagan created a ticket that unified the party.
AP

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 10:32 am

It will be a while before we know if presidential candidate Mitt Romney's pick of Rep. Paul Ryan to join the Republican ticket will be a plus or minus for his campaign.

In my view, not since Jack Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson has the choice of a running mate truly affected the outcome in November. LBJ did, after all, help bring Texas to the Democratic fold in 1960. But the record for subsequent No. 2s is a bit mixed. Here's my scorecard:

1964

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Election 2012
5:24 am
Sat August 11, 2012

5 Vice Presidential Picks Who Were Key To Victory

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 8:09 am

There have been a number of instances in recent history where the choice of a vice presidential running mate was an important stepping stone toward winning in the fall.

Of course, it's much too early to know how much of a difference GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will make. In the meantime, here is my subjective list of the top five instances in the past half-century or so where a selection of a running mate was crucial to victory:

1. 1960: John Kennedy-Lyndon Johnson (D)

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Political Junkie
3:48 am
Mon August 6, 2012

The United States Of America ... All Ten Of Them

For Romney to win the election, he is going to have to pick off some big states from Obama's 2008 tally.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 7:56 am

In 92 days, we will either re-elect President Obama or replace him with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. On paper, at least, voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will make that decision.

But if you look at the travel schedules and campaign budgets of Obama and Romney, it's clear that the 2012 election will be decided in only ten or fewer states.

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Political Junkie
3:48 am
Tue June 12, 2012

A Congressional Election In Arizona We All Wish Didn't Have To Take Place

Giffords resigned her seat in January after 4 years in Congress.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 7:48 am

If Republicans had their way, there would not have been a gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin. An unnecessary waste of time, many of them said.

Democrats, for the most part, disagree. Scott Walker's policies, they argued, mandated the recall election.

As for today's special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, both Democrats and Republicans agree that it shouldn't be taking place at all.

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Political Junkie
3:48 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Is Just One Of Many Highlights Of Big Tuesday Campaign Day

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 12:45 pm

Lots at stake tomorrow, June 5, with primaries in five states, in addition to what would be only the third recall of a sitting governor in U.S. history. Here's the lineup:

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Political Junkie
3:48 am
Mon May 21, 2012

What Does Ron Paul Want? Hint: It's Not About The 2012 GOP Nomination

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:16 am

Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Even Ron Paul knows it. His acknowledgement that Mitt Romney will be the nominee is just stating the obvious.

But what exactly did he mean when he said last week that he will "no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not voted"? Was he telling us that he was dropping out of the race?

Not quite.

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Political Junkie
9:49 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar May Not Survive Tuesday's GOP Primary

Both Democrats come off unsuccessful gov. campaigns; Barrett lost to Walker in 2010, and Falk lost the primary in 2006.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 8:03 pm

When Richard Lugar, the mayor of Indianapolis, first ran for the Senate, against Democratic incumbent Birch Bayh in 1974, a big part of his problem was that he was a partisan Republican.

In fairness, there was nothing wrong with being a partisan Republican in good GOP years ... in, say, 1972, when President Richard Nixon was on his way to a landslide re-election and Lugar was the keynote speaker at the GOP national convention.

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