Election forecaster: Nunes seat no longer ‘safe’ Republican

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesRussia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe 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 John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' 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.