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
6:48 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Would Romney, Already Looked At Skeptically By The Right, Pick Rice?

Condoleezza Rice, shown here visiting a school in Moscow in 2011, is the latest rumored choice for Mitt Romney's running mate.
Korotayev Artyom ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 5:03 pm

Pretty soon we'll be obsessing full time over Mitt Romney's running mate selection, but until then I thought I'd weigh in one on Veepstakes story that's been making the rounds in recent days.

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Political Junkie
6:43 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The Green Party Makes Its Case As A Left-Leaning Alternative To Obama

Green Party presidential candidates never attracted much support, but in 2000 they certainly attracted attention.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:07 pm

Last week's Political Junkie column ("Still Waiting For That Declaration of Independents") talked about the lack of ballot alternatives to President Obama (D) and Mitt Romney (R). If there is such dissatisfaction with the two major parties, I wondered, shouldn't there be greater support for a third party or independent presidential candidate?

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Political Junkie
12:07 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Still Waiting For That Declaration Of Independents

If this were truly a widespread sentiment, wouldn't there be more people calling for a third party candidate?
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 9:13 pm

The nation celebrates its 236th year of independence this week, a holiday that reminds us of the freedoms America's early patriots fought for and which we continue to enjoy to this day.

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Political Junkie
6:48 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Age, Demographics And Ethics Make For A Tough Primary For Charlie Rangel

Rangel has advancing age, health issues, ethics woes and changing demographics in his battle to win a 22nd term in Congress.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 5:05 pm

Back in 1970, the word on Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was that, after a quarter-century in the House, it was time for him to go.

At 61 years of age and enmeshed in ethics controversies, Powell was long known for his flamboyance. He was also known for his chronic absenteeism, and a young state assemblyman by the name of Charles Rangel promised if elected he would be a full-time congressman.

Rangel went on to defeat Powell in a five-candidate Democratic primary by just over 200 votes (32.6-31.8 percent).

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Political Junkie
11:54 am
Tue June 19, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin's ScuttleButton 061912

Remember last week's ScuttleButton, where I warned the button faithful that it may not have been the most challenging of puzzles? Well, I'm happier with this week's offering. Either way, it doesn't really matter; President Obama says he will no longer deport those who complain about my button puzzles.

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Political Junkie
10:49 am
Tue June 19, 2012

The Watergate Class Of 1974: How They Arrived In Congress, How They Left

Buttons from 4 of the 5 original members of the Class of '74 who still serve in Congress. (Will someone please tell Henry Waxman to make a button?)
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 2:00 pm

The 40th anniversary of the June 17, 1972 break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in Washington — the beginning of a wide-ranging scandal known as Watergate — was widely observed (and, by some, celebrated) on Sunday in a slew of articles about what it really meant.

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Political Junkie
1:00 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin's ScuttleButton 061212

There are two kinds of ScuttleButton puzzles.

There's the kind where you wrack your brain trying to figure it out, taking the buttons and looking at them every which way until you come up with the answer, happy with yourself that you solved it and appreciative that I came up with something so devilishly challenging.

Or, there's this week's.

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Political Junkie
6:48 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 10:48 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
12:57 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin's ScuttleButton 060512

Yes, today is the gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin.

But you may also recall that it's been two weeks since the last ScuttleButton puzzle. And that is far worse than simply limiting collective bargaining rights.

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Political Junkie
6:48 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 3:45 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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