Election analysts move Ryan seat toward Dems after his retirement

Election handicappers are shifting Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE's (R-Wis.) House district toward Democrats after his retirement announcement Wednesday morning. 

The Cook Political Report moved Wisconsin's 1st District from a "solid Republican" seat to a "lean Republican" seat based on the news, while Sabato's Crystal Ball out of the University of Virginia shifted the race from "likely Republican" to a toss-up. 


No serious Republican candidate had been running against Ryan for the nomination. But now, with his impending retirement, Republicans have until the June 1 filing deadline to find another candidate to best Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who lost handily to Ryan in the 2016 GOP primary. 

Democrats have already put their strongest foot forward in the district in years. Ironworker Randy Bryce is the favorite in the Democratic primary because of his prolific fundraising — he ended the first quarter of 2018 with $2.3 million in the bank, a significant haul for a candidate running against such a strong Republican opponent. 

Local school board member Cathy Myers is also running for the Democratic nomination. 

While toppling Ryan was still considered a difficult feat because of his massive campaign account and visibility, the seat now becomes imminently more competitive. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE won the district by 10 points in 2016, and its Partisan Voting Index — Cook Political Report's measure of how much more partisan a district is than the national average — pegs it as leaning 5 points toward Republicans.

But a Republican campaign source poured cold water on the prospect of the party losing the seat, and passed along recent internal polling conducted in the district.

That polling found Republicans with a 12-point lead on the generic ballot, leading 48 to 36 percent. Fifty-one percent of voters in the district approve of Trump, according to the polling, and 55 percent support the recent GOP tax-reform plan.

Updated at 11:09 a.m.