The GOP opens the door to significant Senate gains
And if the two parties split the “Give Up” races evenly, Republicans would still win a one-seat majority in the House. Democrats are banking on the power of incumbency and the lingering unpopularity of some Republican candidates to overcome an increasingly rough political environment for the party in power.
New Hampshire is one of three Senate races to flip in our latest ratings update, along with four gubernatorial races and 13 House races — with nearly all of the shifts going Republican. The political landscape in the final days of the race continues to swing toward the GOP.
Here are three main takeaways from the latest ratings update:
New Hampshire firmly in the game, Washington State on the board
In addition to moving New Hampshire to the “Toss Up,” two other races are moving in the Republican direction: Sen. blond frame has all but solidified his lead in Florida, and his race is moving from “Lean Republican” to “Likely Republican,” despite a well-funded challenge from Democratic Rep. Val Demings.
And the Washington state Senate race has become more competitive. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is still the favorite, but Republican Tiffany Smiley — who outpolled Murray in the last month of the race — has gained ground. The race is moving from “likely Democratic” to “lean Democratic.”
Although the polls in Washington have tightened, Smiley remains hampered by the state’s partisanship. In the August primary, Murray (52 percent) and Democratic candidates combined for more than 55 percent of the vote. The political environment is better for Republicans now, but it’s a steep hill to climb.
In moving to “Toss Up,” New Hampshire joins five other states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Not everyone is a pure coin flipper, though. Hassan’s small lead in her race is similar to GOP Sen. Ron Johnsonis a modest advantage in Wisconsin. A number of public opinion polls this week showed Johnson still leading Democrat Mandela Barnes, albeit by a modest margin.
Like Arizona, which moved to “Toss Up” last week, the tightening in New Hampshire came despite some national Republican groups pulling out of the state.
But while the top GOP super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, is absent, several ideological groups have filled the void, such as the Steve Wynn-funded Our American Century ($2.9 million in ads) and the political arm of the Heritage Sentinel Action Fund ($1 million).
New York Governor Goes Lean Democratic
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul remains the favorite to win a full term in her race, but the Republican representative. Lee Zeldin kicks up a frenzy in the final weeks of the race. New York, which has been on “Likely Democratic” since the election forecast was released, moves up one notch to “Lean Democratic.”
Zeldin’s focus on crime has proven powerful — polls show more voters see it as their top issue than any other issue — but he’s still running as an ally of former President Donald Trump and an opponent of abortion rights in New York state.
Still, the closer-than-expected race at the top of the card has some piqued shake for the New York Democrat vote. Three of the 12 House races going Republican are in New York.
The other three gubernatorial races that are shifting Republican are in states that Democrats had hoped to contest earlier in the cycle but where GOP leaders have a commanding lead: New Hampshire, Ohio and Vermont are shifting from “likely Republican” into a “solid republican”.
The GOP is closing in on a House majority
Republicans are now favored in 215 House districts – just 3 short of a majority.
Two contests previously rated “Toss Up” are now “Lean Republican”: the newly drawn seat in Colorado and the Democratic Rep. Cindy Axnerace in Iowa. Most polls in Axne County show a close race — including a publicly released internal poll from Republican Zach Nunn’s campaign — but undecided voters are expected to break against the incumbent.
Meanwhile, four races previously rated “Lean Democratic” are now in the “Toss Up” category: representative seats. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, along with the open West Long Island seat held by Rep. Kathleen Rice (DN.Y.).
Republicans have been late in the game Maloney headquarters. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the home of the GOP’s largest super PAC, reported spending $8.8 million — mostly in the last three weeks — to oust the chairman of the House Democratic campaign this year.
Unlike other districts that have seen last-minute spending, Maloney’s seat is a “Toss-up” — neither he nor Republican Mike Lawler are significant favorites.
In other seats that are changing in this update, late spending has made them more competitive, but Democrats maintain their lead.
Reps. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) i Joe Morel (DN.Y.) all moved from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic,” as well as an open seat in Pittsburgh, where Democratic candidate Summer Lee is facing both a barrage of late spending from AIPAC’s new super PAC and with a potentially confusing situation on the ballot. Her GOP opponent, Mike Doyle, shares the same name as the district’s retired Democratic congressman.
One race has moved toward the Democrats: Rep. Steve Chabot is now an underdog who won re-election in his Cincinnati district. That race is going from “Toss Up” to “Lean Democratic.”
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