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, 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.


Political Junkie
10:09 am
Mon April 23, 2012

With Casey At The Bat, Will Pennsylvania Republicans Once Again Swing & Miss?

Santorum first won his Senate seat in a great GOP year and lost it 12 years later in a terrible GOP year.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 2:15 pm

Pennsylvania is often described as a swing state for November's presidential battle, as polls there show a very tight contest shaping up between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Of course, the Keystone State was also thought to be in play four years ago, when Obama easily dispatched John McCain by a 55-44 percent margin.

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Political Junkie
1:58 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Battle For The Senate: Numbers Favor GOP, But Control Is Still Up For Grabs

The most vulnerable Senate Republican.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 1:28 pm

The battle for the Republican presidential nomination may or may not be decided by the end of this month. The battle for control of the Senate, on the other hand, is likely to go on all the way until the final votes are cast in November.

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Political Junkie
12:28 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin's ScuttleButton 010912

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 11:24 am

There was a lot of talk about God and religion during last week's Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Then came the miraculous victory Sunday in the playoffs by the Denver Broncos and their quarterback, Tim Tebow.

There are no coincidences when it comes to politics, sports and religion.

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Political Junkie
12:26 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Mitt Romney, New Hampshire And The 'Expectations Game'

Romney's N.H. victory celebration four years ago was premature. But it may not be this time.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 2:09 pm

A handful of new polls are out, all of which have Mitt Romney ahead in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary by varying margins.

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Primary 2012
4:55 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

New Hampshire Primary's Role Still Key, But Changing

A "vote here" sign marks the way to the polling place in Nashua, November 4, 2008.
Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

The Iowa caucuses have come and gone, and that leaves New Hampshire the better part of a week to consider the candidates before the primary on January 10th.

Here to help us sort out New Hampshire’s changing role in the political landscape is NPR’s Political Editor Ken Rudin. He talked about the primary with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson. 

Political Junkie
7:04 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Assessing Newt's Rise, Cain's Fall. Plus: The Return Of The Donald?

The Union Leader's track record with endorsements is mixed.
Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 6:53 am

So now it's Newt Gingrich.

In what has become the most improbable result of a most improbable campaign season, Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who has been out of public office since 1998, has benefited from a series of well-reviewed debate performances to catapult himself to the top of the GOP presidential pack. Not just the leading "Anybody But Mitt (Romney)" candidate. The leader, period.

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