What People are Saying

“Rhodes Cook is the political analyst’s political analyst. Real political experts look to Rhodes for his sharp analysis and grasp of what happened, where did it happen and what does it mean. A lot of people look a lot smarter by stealing material from The Rhodes Cook Letter.”

Charlie Cook
Editor & Publisher, The Cook Political Report
Columnist, National Journal


“Over many years, I’ve come to depend on the excellent work of Rhodes Cook and the political newsletters he produces. He is a consistent and unbiased source for accurate data, historical context and keen insights into the changing political landscape.” 

Dan Balz

Chief Correspondent, The Washington Post


“Rhodes Cook has provided the starting point and gold standard for voting behavior and election analysis for decades, always grounding his insights in historical perspective plus lots of data. The Rhodes Cook Letter makes professors, pundits and politicians seem more erudite and insightful than they might otherwise be without Rhodes’ extraordinary acumen.”

William F. Connelly Jr.

John K. Boardman Politics Professor, Washington and Lee University


 “The ‘Rhodes Cook Letter’ is a must read for anyone interested in staying ahead of voter trends and elections.”

Tom Davis

Former US representative from Virginia (1995-2008) and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)


“I’ve known and relied on Rhodes Cook since we first worked together at Congressional Quarterly in 1987. Rhodes was then the foremost journalistic expert on the rules of the presidential nominating contest, and the acknowledged master of the detailed informational election story with accompanying maps, charts and graphics. As an independent newsletter publisher since the turn of this century, Rhodes has maintained his focus on elections and his reputation for insightful observation. But what really sets Rhodes apart is his passion for hard data and completeness, a combination when he carried on the legacy of Richard Scammon’s monumental America Votes series. With all the wealth of Big Data we now have from websites and software, there is still no replacement for the savvy analysis and meticulous touch of “The Rhodes Cook Letter.”

Ron Elving

National Public Radio (NPR) Senior Editor and Correspondent

American University Executive in Residence, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs


“We look forward to the issues. My team is behind you 100%, and we very much appreciate your contributions over many, many years.”

Larry J. Sabato

Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics 


“I view your newsletter as an oasis for a numbers, metrics and rules-obsessed political junkie … Opinion is easy to find these days in the political media world; Factual information is much harder, especially in the world of campaign politics; There’s no safer harbor to getting smart and understanding of the electoral landscape than The Rhodes Cook Letter…”

Chuck Todd

Moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, host of MSNBC’s MTP Daily, and NBC News Political Director

Contact Rhodes Cook at rhodescook@aol.com

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Rhodes Cook has been an avid observer of American politics virtually his entire life, since watching with captivation the 1956 Democratic national convention on his family’s new black-and-white television set.

For more than 20 years, Rhodes worked as a political reporter 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 in 2000 a bimonthly political newsletter, “The Rhodes Cook Letter.” It continues to this day. Over the years he has written blogs for the Wall Street Journal online edition and freelance pieces for the Washington Post. Rhodes 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 compiled America Votes, a biennial collection of nationwide election data that was initiated in the 1950s by Richard Scammon. He 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 was published on a quadrennial basis from 1988 through 2008; United States Presidential Primary Elections, 1968-1996 and 2000-04, a collection of state presidential primary results down to the county level; and a Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? The latter looked at the development of the nominating process from the early years of the republic to the early 21st century. It was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2004. The others were printed by CQ Press.

For three and half decades, Rhodes has spent election nights projecting the outcome of congressional races – first for ABC News (1982 through 1988), then the Voter News Service (from 1994 through 2000), and with ABC News again since 2002.

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 ultimate compromise candidate, who was chosen by the Democrats in 1924 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.

Before entering the world of journalism he had a checkered career working for presidential campaigns – first, that of Republican Richard Nixon in the summer of 1968; then, that of Democrat George McGovern in 1971-72.

Rhodes lives in Annandale, Va., with his wife, Memrie. They have a daughter and two grandsons.