Rhodes Cook has been an avid observer of American politics virtually his entire life, since watching with captivation the national conventions of 1956 on his family’s new black-and-white television set.
For nearly 20 years, Rhodes worked as a political writer for the Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, serving as senior writer for more than a decade. He covered both presidential and congressional elections, with a particular interest in the presidential nominating process and voting trends in general.
Upon retiring from Congressional Quarterly in 1997, Rhodes launched this web site and a separate bimonthly political newsletter, authored a variety of election-related books, and wrote columns for the Wall Street Journal online edition and freelance pieces for the Washington Post and the New York Times. He is currently a senior columnist for “Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” an online publication of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Since 1996, Rhodes has authored America Votes, a biennial compilation of nationwide election data that was initiated in the 1950s by Richard M. Scammon. Rhodes has also written a series of books on the presidential nominating process – Race for the Presidency, a guidebook to the nominating process and its rules, which has been published on a quadrennial basis since 1988; United States Presidential Primary Elections, 1968-1996 and 2000-2004, a collection of primary results down to the county level; and The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? The latter looks at the historic development of the nominating process and its current structure, and was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2004. The others were published by CQ Press.
For more than two decades, Rhodes has spent election nights projecting the outcome of congressional races – first for the Voter News Service (VNS), and since 2002 for ABC News.
Rhodes grew up in State College, Pa., and graduated from Penn State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts in 1969 and a master’s degree in history in 1973. He wrote his master’s thesis on “The Presidential Candidacy of John W. Davis,” the spectacularly unsuccessful Democratic nominee in 1924, who was chosen on the 103rd ballot. The topic combined Rhodes’ interest in elections and the “also rans” of American politics, whose presence in race after race make the winners possible.
Rhodes lives in Annandale, Va., with his wife, Memrie. Their daughter, Shannon, and son-in-law, Jon, are both in graduate school.