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Election forecaster: Nunes seat no longer ‘safe’ Republican

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire GOP Rep. Kevin Brady won't seek reelection Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC MORE’s (R) California seat is no longer considered a “safe Republican” seat, a top election forecaster said this week while shifting its outlook for several House races.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics moved Nunes’s seat to “likely Republican” as his Democratic challenger, Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz, continues to have fundraising success.

Nunes, a staunch defender of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE, is still considered a favorite in the race, but the Crystal Ball notes that he will likely face a stronger challenge than expected.

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Janz raised more than $1 million in campaign funds in the first quarter of the year, and said that Nunes has been ignoring constituents while “playing games on the House Intelligence Committee.”

Nunes has been in the national spotlight as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He has faced harsh criticism from Democrats over committee Republicans’ memo alleging surveillance abuse and anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.

Democrats have also criticized moves by Republicans on the committee to end the panel's investigation into Russia's election interference.

The committee released a final report on Friday, authored by Republicans, saying that they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, prompting Trump to again call for an end to the special counsel investigation.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved nine other House seats from "safe Republican" to "likely Republican" this week, and an additional four House seats toward Democrats.

Only Rep.-elect Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who won a special election on Tuesday, was moved from "likely Republican" to "safe Republican."

“All of these members remain solid favorites for reelection, but at the same time, many seem likely to face better-funded challengers than they are used to,” said Sabato’s Crystal Ball managing editor Kyle Kondik.