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Cook Political Report shifts 5 races after California, NJ primaries

Greg Nash

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has changed the ratings for three House contests in favor of Democrats and two in favor of Republicans following Tuesday’s primaries in California and New Jersey.

The races moving in favor of Democrats are all open-seat races where the Republican incumbent is retiring.

{mosads}The seat held by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was moved from a toss-up to lean Democrat by Cook. Seats held by Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Rodney Frelinghuysen in New Jersey were shifted from lean Democrat to likely Democrat, and from toss-up to lean Democrat.

Democrats have long seen all three districts as pick-up opportunities.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won Issa’s seat by 7 points in 2016, but was narrowly defeated by President Trump in both of those New Jersey districts.

In the race to replace Issa, Democrat Mike Levin, an environmental attorney, will face off against Republican Diane Harkey, a member of the State Board of Equalization.

In the New Jersey races, state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D) will square off against attorney Seth Grossman (R) in the race to succeed LoBiondo. Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a Navy pilot and former federal prosecutor, will face Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber, in the race to replace Frelinghuysen.

The two seats moving in favor of the GOP are held by Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.).

Hunter is running for reelection against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration official.

In Tuesday’s open primary, Hunter won 40 percent of the vote compared to 16 percent for Campa-Najjar, who finished ahead of a more moderate Democrat, former Navy SEAL Josh Butner.

Hunter faces an FBI investigation into alleged misuse of campaign funds, but Trump won his district by a double-digit margin. Butner’s failure to make the general election race could also boost the incumbent.

Cook’s rating moved from likely Republican to solid Republican.

Valadao’s seat shifted from lean Republican to likely Republican after he won first place in his primary by a wide margin over Democratic businessman and engineer TJ Cox.

Tags Darrell Issa David Valadao Donald Trump Duncan Hunter Frank LoBiondo Hillary Clinton Rodney Frelinghuysen
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