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
5:18 am
Mon January 7, 2013

John Boehner Has Been Up And Down And Up Again. Where Is He Now?

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio bangs the gavel after being re-elected as House Speaker of the 113th Congress on Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:41 pm

As John Boehner finally got the votes to put him over the top, and his re-election as Speaker of the House became official, one had to wonder what was going on in his mind.

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Political Junkie
5:08 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2012

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:43 pm

In political terms, 2012 was not the greatest of years. We witnessed an ugly, personal, petty, and often childish presidential election. Living in a "battleground" or "swing" state often meant being bombarded 24/7 by an incessant barrage of negative campaign commercials. And just as we were finally emerging from the campaign, we ended the year with an unfathomable tragedy, the gunning down of 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut.

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Political Junkie
5:46 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

The Legacy Of Sen. Jim DeMint — The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Sen. Jim DeMint's endorsement has become the gold standard for true blue conservatives seeking a Senate seat.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:14 am

Jim DeMint, the Republican from South Carolina, has been in the Senate for all of eight years. During that time, he has not been elected to any major leadership position, nor has he put his signature on any piece of legislation worth a lick. But he has become, without a doubt, one of the most influential members of his party, if not the entire Senate. A thumbs up or thumbs down from the 61-year old DeMint could either boost or curtail a political career. At times, he's been a kingmaker. Other times, he has been less successful. But no one questions his power.

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Political Junkie
3:53 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

The Political And Personal Demise Of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned his House seat last Wednesday amid health and ethics concerns.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:20 pm

It is always sad to watch a once-highly regarded public official, with seemingly unlimited potential, self-destruct. It's even sadder when that person offering so much hope represented a congressional district that has long been suffering economically, that desperately needed advocates on its behalf, and where the two previous incumbents left a trail of shame.

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Politics
5:33 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Both Sides Itching For A Confirmation Fight Over Susan Rice

Some Republicans are betting that President Obama won't push for a Susan Rice nomination if it could jeopardize negotiations with the GOP on things like the budget, or immigration.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:23 pm

The election was over. As President Obama faced the press in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, the anger and bitterness of his long battle with Mitt Romney seemed to have faded. Unlike President George W. Bush after his 2004 re-election — and his comments about having political capital and intending to spend it — Obama seemed a bit more humble victor, talking more about compromise and saying he was willing to hear other points of view to solve the nation's problems.

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Political Junkie
11:12 am
Tue November 13, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:33 am

I know what you're thinking. Same old president. Same old Senate. Same old House.

And yes, same old ScuttleButton.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

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Election 2012
5:33 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Who Gets The Blame For The Romney Loss? The Tea Party Has A Theory.

Tea Party favorites: Bachmann (Minn.) barely survived; Mourdock (Ind.) lost a previously safe GOP seat; West (Fla.) refuses to concede.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:38 am

It was an election that, once upon a time, many thought was stacked in Mitt Romney's favor.

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Election 2012
8:08 am
Mon November 5, 2012

What To Look For On Election Day: The Battle For The White House & Congress

A voter reads her ballot as she prepares to cast her vote during the last day of early voting in Miami on Nov. 3.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 7:02 am

Tuesday, as those who follow politics probably know, is Election Day. The battle between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been contentious, expensive, personal, illuminating, ugly, frustrating, petty, enlightening and, above all, long. And it is expected to be close.

This week's Political Junkie column is an attempt to guide you to what's at stake on Tuesday, both in the contest for the White House as well as the 33 Senate and 435 House seats on the ballot.

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It's All Politics
8:37 am
Sun September 23, 2012

Women Head For The Hill In Record Numbers

U.S. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York waves as she takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this month.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 11:43 am

More women are running for Congress this year than ever before. The 18 women running for the Senate break the previous record of 14, set two years ago. Also, there are 163 female candidates for House seats, more than the 141 who ran in 2004.

That gives this election season a Year-of-the-Woman ring to it, says The Center for American Women and Politics. The center's director, Debbie Walsh, offered some reasons in a press release:

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Political Junkie
4:28 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Memorable Moments From Democratic Conventions Of The Past

V ice President Joe Biden, left, and President Obama embrace following Biden's vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 9:31 am

Perhaps, when they think back to the Republican convention of 2012, it will be Clint Eastwood and his friend, the chair, that people will remember most.

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