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Louis Jacobson, PolitiFact Senior Correspondent

Louis Jacobson

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent for PolitiFact and a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. He has served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow. Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy and lobbying for National Journal magazine. Since 2002, he has handicapped political races, including state legislatures, governors, congressional seats, state attorneys general and the electoral college, currently for Governing. He is senior author of The Almanac of American Politics 2016 and also contributed to the 2000 and 2004 editions. In 2004, Jacobson originated the "Out There" column on politics in the states, which ran in Roll Call and later in and which won five annual awards from Capitolbeat, the association of state capitol reporters and editors. He received the Weidenbaum Center Award for Evidence-Based Journalism from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014.

Phone: (202) 463-0576

The Jacobson file:


  1. Voices of the Inauguration: Donald Trump’s supporters


    Traveling to Donald Trump’s inauguration -- on Metro platforms and early-morning streets near the Capitol -- the Tampa Bay Times buttonholed Trump supporters to ask them about their expectations for the new president and what they most wanted to see him do. Here’s a sampling of their thoughts:

    Kyle Bryant, 18, and Andrew Fleishell, 17, of Sykesville, Md. 

    Why did you come?...

    President Donald Trump takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, as his wife Melania holds the Bible, and with his children Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany, Friday on Capitol Hill in Washington.
  2. The Buzz’s Florida congressional vulnerability rankings, October edition


    It’s been six months since the Buzz last handicapped the most vulnerable congressional seats in Florida. Since then, the list of House-seat battlegrounds in the state -- and the intensity of several key races -- has only grown.

    Florida was already on track for a volatile season of congressional races, thanks to newly redrawn district lines, a contested U.S. Senate race that attracted U.S. House members, and a smattering of retirements. ...

  3. PolitiFact: Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim that Barack Obama 'founded' ISIS


    Donald Trump has found a ferocious way to describe President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: as the founder and co-founder of ISIS, the terrorist group behind beheadings of Americans and lethal attacks around the world.

    Speaking to thousands of supporters at a Broward County arena Wednesday, Trump vowed to "knock the hell out of ISIS" before pointing the finger at the Democrats....

    Donald Trump now claims that his ridiculous characterization of Obama’s ISIS role was just sarcasm.
  4. Watch the turbulent Florida delegation breakfast unfold in real time


    PHILADELPHIA - It was not entirely unexpected, but it came suddenly: An otherwise ordinary Florida delegation breakfast at the Democratic National Convention erupted into a frenzy of booing and catcalls as Debbie Wasserman Schultz - the soon-to-be resigning Democratic National Committee chairwoman - took the podium.

    The room included a significant number of Bernie Sanders supporters who blame Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida as well as DNC chair, for putting a finger (or a whole hand) on the scales for Hillary Clinton in the primary. The previous day, she said she would resign after embarrassing details from DNC communications emerged from a hack of the committee's emails on her watch....

  5. The race to win Ohio: Three key questions for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton


    With the eyes of a nation on Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, the four-day confab is once again focusing attention on Ohio, the perennial presidential swing state.

    A discussion with several politicos in this suburb of Cleveland zeroed in a few key questions that will likely shape the outcome of the Buckeye State. The state has 18 electoral votes and polls show a close race, with Clinton typically ahead by a small margin. It is a crucial element of both parties’ paths to the 270 electoral votes needed to win....

  6. Fact-checking the Florida delegation breakfast


    Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and consultant and pundit Dick Morris threw loads of red meat to members of the Florida delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland over breakfast on July 20. Once again, PolitiFact was in attendance and took a look at some of the facts that were checkable.

    Morris argued that Trump is winning support from both sides of the ideological spectrum, from disaffected Americans of either partisan stripe, or none at all....

  7. PolitiFact at the RNC: Fact-checking Ben Carson, Tom Cotton and Adam Putnam


    Florida delegates once again heard speeches from prominent Republicans at their delegate breakfast on July 19, including former presidential candidate Ben Carson, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. PolitiFact checked some of their remarks for accuracy.

    Carson said that in the United States, “we have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. That doesn’t make any sense.”...

  8. Fact-checking the RNC: PolitiFact has got this


    Florida delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland kicked off their quadrennial confab with a breakfast featuring four speakers. PolitiFact took a look at some of their talking points.

    Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, touted his state’s economy on his watch.

    “I’ve been governor for 18 months,” he said. “We have a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, which is the lowest rate in the history of Arkansas.”...

  9. Here are the most vulnerable seats in Florida's congressional delegation


    For the fourth straight election cycle, the Buzz is publishing periodic rankings of the most vulnerable seats in Florida's U.S. House delegation, which includes 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats. This is our first attempt to compile rankings since June 2015 -- and a lot has happened since then.

    Thanks to newly redrawn district lines, an open U.S. Senate seat that attracted U.S. House members from both parties, a smattering of retirements, and some primary challenges to incumbents, nearly half of Florida's seats in the U.S. House - 13 out of 27 - are in some type of flux this year....

  10. Were Jeb Bush's picks for the Florida Supreme Court consistent conservatives?


    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s positions on some issues, such as immigration, have been to the left of other members of the GOP presidential field. But last month, Bush laid down a marker on his own conservatism: his selection of conservative judges.

    "I have a proven record of appointing conservatives to the Florida judiciary as governor, and my administration devoted substantial time to vetting nominees,"Bush wrote in an article for Medium. "We sought judges who had shown humility, courage, an appreciation of the duties of a judge, a respect for the will of the people, and devotion to full application of the law without equivocation. My two appointments to the Florida Supreme Court, Raul Cantero and Kenneth Bell, have earned reputations as its most consistent conservatives. Additionally, two of the appellate judges I named as governor, Charles Canady and Ricky Polston, are now serving with distinction on the Florida Supreme Court."...

  11. Jeb Bush doubles down on experience argument


    RINDGE, N.H. — The day after Iowa voters gave first, second and third place to relatively inexperienced Republican politicians, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush doubled down on the experience card during a morning event in New Hampshire.

    Bush chose to be introduced by a veteran congressional politician  —  former presidential rival Lindsey Graham  —  and by his host, Franklin Pierce University president Andy Card, who was the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush’s brother....

    Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush poses for a photo with attendees after a town hall-style meeting in Rindge, N.H.
  12. The Buzz's House vulnerability rankings for 2016


    These days, the re-election rate of congressional incumbents hovers tantalizingly close to 100 percent. But that doesn’t mean Florida will be devoid of competitive congressional races next year.

    For the fourth straight cycle, the Buzz is publishing a periodic ranking of the most vulnerable seats in Florida's U.S. House delegation, which currently includes 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats. This is our first attempt at compiling rankings for the 2016 cycle. Since the lists of possible challengers are not settled, this is a “baseline” assessment that will change as Election Day 2016 approaches....

  13. The Buzz's House vulnerability rankings for Florida


    Six months is an eternity in campaign time. In March -- the last time the Buzz ranked the Florida congressional seats on how vulnerable they might be to a partisan takeover this fall -- we included eight seats as being at least a teensy bit competitive.

    Now? The list is down to three -- barely.

    The biggest change is that the No. 1 seat in March -- the District 13 seat left vacant by the death of Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young -- is no longer on our list. The winner of the hard-fought March special election, Republican David Jolly, is cruising toward an easy victory in November, due to the Democrats’ utter inability to find a candidate to run in the highly competitive Pinellas County district....

  14. The Buzz handicaps the Florida congressional races


    As the special election in Pinellas' Congressional District 13 hurtles to a finish next week, it seems like a good time to update our Florida vulnerability rankings.

    For the third straight cycle, the Buzz is handicapping the most vulnerable U.S. House seats in the Florida delegation. This is the first update we've done since July 2013. (We'll pick up the pace as Election Day 2014 approaches.) Quite a few of the seats have risen or fallen several notches over the past eight months....

  15. Buzz's Florida congressional vulnerability rankings for 2014


    It’s still 16 months until Election Day 2014, but Democrats and Republicans are already plotting strategies for defending their own vulnerable congressional incumbents and for ousting the other party’s weakest lawmakers.

    For the third straight cycle, the Buzz is handicapping the most vulnerable U.S. House seats in the Florida delegation. The following represents our first attempt this election cycle to rank incumbent House members from Florida by how vulnerable their party is to losing the seat. We have rated the seats in descending order, based on the likelihood that they will switch party control in November 2014....