Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems

Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems
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Election handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted 10 House races toward Democrats on Thursday, including the election involving recently indicted Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 What a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Bipartisan lawmakers unveil bill to tighten some campaign rules MORE (R-Calif.).

The handicapper moved Hunter’s race in California’s 50th Congressional District from a “safe Republican” seat to “leans Republican.”

The Department of Justice alleged in an indictment Tuesday against Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, that the GOP congressman used campaign funds to purchase trips to Italy and Hawaii, pay for his family's dental work, his children's tuition and international travel for nearly a dozen relatives.

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Elsewhere on the map, the Crystal Ball moved races involving Reps. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungLive coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge Inside the Trump-Congress Christmas meltdown House GOP and Puerto Rico governor agree on statehood vote MORE (R-Alaska) and Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Bipartisan bill would give government workers access to retirement funds amid shutdown Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown MORE (R-Texas) from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican.” The forecaster did the same with an open seat in Texas’s 2nd Congressional District.

Reps. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address GOP lawmaker confronted by passenger for flying first class amid shutdown MORE (R-Ill.), 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 (R-Ill.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) had their races shifted from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican.” 

A trio of seats moved from "leans Republican" to "toss-up," including Rep. Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthur 10 things we learned from the midterms New Jersey New Members 2019 On The Money: Trump, Senate leaders to huddle on border wall funding | Fed bank regulator walks tightrope on Dodd-Frank | Koch-backed groups blast incentives for corporations after Amazon deal MORE’s (R-N.J.) race. The other seats moved into the category include Washington’s 8th District and North Carolina’s 9th District.

Republicans are seeking to stave off a Democratic push to retake control of the House and Senate in November. A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Democrats with a 6.6 point lead over Republicans in the generic congressional ballot.

Sabato’s managing editor Kyle Kondik said Democrats stand to solidify their favored status following developments this week involving former Trump associates Michael Cohen and Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears CNN's Toobin: 'Almost unrecognizable' Manafort 'in danger of losing his life' in prison The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE.

"Previous developments related to Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation of the 2016 campaign and Russian involvement really haven’t," Kondik wrote. "But it would be wrong to look at what happened earlier this week and argue that the Cohen/Manafort news doesn’t mean anything to the battle for the House."

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he made at the direction of a candidate for federal office. His statement implicated President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE without naming him specifically.

Manafort was convicted on eight charges of bank fraud and tax fraud, while the judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.