Cook moves status of 6 House races as general election sprint begins

Cook moves status of 6 House races as general election sprint begins
© Greg Nash

The Cook Political Report on Wednesday changed the status of six House races. 

In the race for Florida's 18th District, Rep. Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE's (R) chances of holding onto his seat are improving, according to the election handicapper, which moved it from the "Lean Republican" column to "Likely Republican."

Likewise, the race to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenComstock joins K Street firm Yoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm MORE (R) in Florida's 27th District has become more competitive for Republicans, moving from the "Lean Democratic" column to become a toss-up race.

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Democrat Donna Shalala, a former Health and Human Services secretary under former President Clinton, is looking to turn the South Florida district blue. But she's facing an increasingly competitive challenge from Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, a well-known broadcast journalist. 

But the Cook ratings aren't all good news for the GOP. In Georgia's 7th District, Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Dem raises more than 0k since declaring bid for Georgia House seat MORE's (R) race against Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is moving from "Likely Republican" to "Lean Republican." That means that the GOP incumbent has an advantage, but the race remains competitive for Democrats.

And in Minnesota's 2nd and 3rd districts, the House races are moving from toss-up status to "Lean Democrat," according to Cook, giving Democrats a slight advantage in otherwise highly competitive contests.

Also moving into the toss-up column is the House race for New Mexico's 2nd District, which previously leaned in Republicans' favor. In that race, Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is vying against Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell to replace Rep. Steve PearceStevan (Steve) Edward PearceThe legal scandal that no one is talking about Dem governors on 2020: Opposing Trump not enough Election Countdown: Recount prospects grow in Florida | Abrams team to sue over absentee ballots | Dem wins pivotal Georgia House seat | A look at the uncalled races | Corporations spend big to beat ballot measures MORE (R-N.M.).

Pearce is stepping down from his House seat to run for the New Mexico governor's mansion. 

Cook's latest changes were announced by the election handicapper's House editor, David Wasserman, on Twitter. 

Democrats are bullish about the chances of a so-called blue wave in November as they seek to gain control of the House. 

In the Senate, Democrats face a tougher battle to reclaim the majority. But a narrow path has opened up in recent weeks, with Democrats eyeing Senate GOP-held seats in Arizona, Tennessee and Texas as possible pickup opportunities.