Cook Political Report shifts seven House races toward Dems

Cook Political Report shifts seven House races toward Dems
© Greg Nash

The Cook Political Report has shifted seven House races toward the Democratic Party.

The nonpartisan elections analyst announced Wednesday it had updated the races in seven districts, all currently held by Republicans, to reflect "improved Democratic prospects" ahead of the November midterm elections.

Four of the seats were shifted from "solid" Republican to "likely" Republican, and the other three from "likely" Republican to "lean" Republican.

Cook moved the race for the Arizona House seat formerly held by Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R) — who resigned after reportedly discussing paying a staffer to act as a surrogate mother — shifted from "solid" to "lean" Republican.

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Also no longer considered "solid" by the election handicapper: GOP Reps. Jack Bergman (Mich.), David JoyceDavid Patrick JoyceDem chairwoman seeks watchdog probe of Park Service’s shutdown operations Marijuana industry boosts DC lobbying team Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown MORE (Ohio) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanSouth Carolina New Members 2019 House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Milwaukee County GOP mocks Kavanaugh accusation, says Ginsburg claimed Lincoln 'grabbed my ass' MORE (S.C.).

The three Republicans downgraded from "likely" to "lean" by Cook on Wednesday are Reps. French HillJames (French) French HillHere are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown Rep. French Hill wins after unexpected challenge Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide MORE (Ariz.), Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenLauren Underwood becomes youngest ever black woman to be sworn in to Congress Illinois New Members 2019 Republicans must learn from the election mistake on immigration MORE (Ill.) and Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Ethics investigation finds outgoing House Republican made staff unload groceries, dog-sit Trump signs bill naming post office after soldier whose parents he attacked MORE (Va.).

Cook now lists 179 House seats as "solid" for Democrats, compared to only 156 for Republicans. 

The rating changes come after the newest Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports show Democratic challengers out-raised Republicans in at least 60 GOP-held seats in the most recent cycle.

“Even before last week, Democratic donors had been demonstrating far more enthusiasm on a race-by-race basis, a fact reflected in the newest House fundraising reports. The newest FEC filings spell danger for Republicans, ” Cook election analyst David Wasserman wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday.

On top of the quarterly reports, 15 Republican incumbents had less cash on hand than their likely Democratic challengers, according to Open Secrets.

Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats in the midterms to retake the majority in the House. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Democrats currently have a 5.5-point lead over Republicans in a generic congressional vote.

Ben Kamisar contributed.