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.

Political Junkie
10:05 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's The Final ScuttleButton Puzzle ... For Now

Ken Rudin collection

Some words I never thought I would utter: This is the last ScuttleButton puzzle that will ever appear on the NPR Web site.

With the cancellation of Talk of the Nation, and of course the weekly Political Junkie segment that goes with it, the long relationship between Political Junkie and NPR is coming to an end.

Thus, this is the last button puzzle, with the final winner (and t-shirt and button prizes) announced on Wednesday, June 26th — the final Junkie segment on TOTN.

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Political Junkie
11:34 am
Tue June 11, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 3:16 pm

The sad thing about this week's ScuttleButton puzzle is that Edward Snowden has already revealed the answer.

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Political Junkie
9:39 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Lautenberg Death Complicates Christie's Road To November, And 2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie outlines plans for a special election to be held to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died on Tuesday, at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie did not disclose who would fill the vacant seat until the election scheduled for Oct. 16.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 3:14 pm

One of the last things Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel did before he resigned to join the Nixon Cabinet was to fill a Senate vacancy caused by the December 1968 death of E.L. Bartlett, a Democrat. Hickel picked a GOP state representative by the name of Ted Stevens. Stevens, who only months before lost a Republican primary bid for a different seat, went on to serve more than 40 years in the Senate, longer than any Republican in history. Appointing Stevens was by any definition a good move.

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Political Junkie
5:48 am
Tue June 4, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

It's time to solve this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Tuesday or Wednesday 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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Political Junkie
5:53 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Virginia Lt. Gov. Nominee Excites The Right, And Democrats Couldn't Be Happier

button courtesy of David Ray

It's taken awhile, but Tea Party activists and social conservatives are finally beginning to get smiles on their faces. Whether that will last through the November election is another story.

After watching their insufficiently conservative (in their view) presidential nominee lose last November, their opposition to taxing-the-rich fall by the wayside thanks to congressional Republican acquiescence, and changes in same-sex marriage and immigration coming faster than they might have wished, some on the right were becoming inconsolable.

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Political Junkie
5:18 am
Wed May 29, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 9:32 am

Just a reminder that there is a possibility ScuttleButton may disappear from the NPR Web site in the next month or so. So if I were you, I'd sign up for the Political Junkie mailing list (info below) to make sure you'll be in the know as to where these irreplaceable and delightful features wind up.

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