Race ratings: Massa seat to toss-up; Bright, Teague downgraded

We make five changes in this edition:

-Massa’s shocking retirement leaves another Democratic vacancy in a McCain district. Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) now has a head start on the field, and Republicans should have at least even odds of taking this seat (which went 56-42 for Bush in 2004). Several factors could change this rating again in the near-term, though, including a potentially tough GOP primary with former Rep. Randy Kuhl and whether or not Democrats can land a strong candidate. Massa’s troubles don’t help Democratic efforts to hold this one. UPGRADED to “toss-up."

-Bright released some sterling poll numbers recently that, even when you consider they were from an internal poll, make his first reelection race look a lot more promising. It looks as thought Bright is doing what he needs to do to win a tough district. If Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby (R) were raising a little more money, this shift would be harder to make. DOWNGRADED to “lean Democratic.”

-Our initial rating on Teague's district was a little aggressive, and an independent survey by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling last week put former Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) up 43-41 over Teague. We still think it's notable that Pearce, unlike other former members, didn't lose reelection in 2008 (he lost a Senate race). But this race is looking more and more like a pure toss-up, and it probably should have been classified as such initially. DOWNGRADED to "toss-up.”

-For Boucher, he finally learned that he will face a reputable GOP opponent. State Del. Morgan Griffith, who filed last week, wasn't the GOP's top choice, but he does have a fighting chance in one of the most conservative districts held by a Democrat. Boucher faces a race he hasn't seen in a long time. UPGRADED to "lean Democratic."

-In Sutton's case, she got a moneyed challenger in the form of car dealer Tom Ganley (R), who switched from the state's Senate race. Sutton holds a 57-42 Obama district and doesn't appear to be in any serious trouble, but Ganley may outspend her thanks to his millions (not to mention the fact that Sutton had just $210,000 in the bank at the end of 2009). Ganley still has something to prove as a candidate, though. UPGRADED to "worth watching."

This post was updated to fix incorrect information about the Teague-Pearce poll.

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