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Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report announced on Friday it was shifting 20 House districts toward Democrats ahead of November's general elections. 

The districts include Rep. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightGarland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing House Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court Lawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off MORE's (D) race in Pennsylvania's 8th District, which was moved from "toss-up" to "lean Democratic," as well as GOP Rep. Don Bacon's (Neb.) race, which is now rated as a "toss-up."

The latest ratings illustrate the uphill climb Republicans will have to win back the majority. The party previously voiced hopes of picking up 18 seats to regain control. 

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The findings also bode well for Democrats looking to defend districts the party flipped in 2018, including Democratic Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonAdministration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race Xinjiang forced labor complex is growing — President Biden should work with Congress to curb it MORE's seat in Virginia, which moved from "likely Democratic" to "solid Democratic."

Additionally, the report shows shifts favoring Democrats in districts that were once considered Republican strongholds, including GOP Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech MORE's race in Texas's 21st District, which was moved from "lean Republican" to "toss-up."

The development comes as President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE's approval rating amid the coronavirus pandemic continues to plummet nationwide and in a series of key states. The RealClearPolitics polling average showed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a lead of 8.6 points over Trump. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories National Review editors defend Cheney from party attacks MORE (R-Calif.) said on Friday he isn't alarmed by races Cook is moving away from Republicans, pointing to now-Rep. Mike Garcia's (R-Calif.) win over Democrat Christy Smith in a special election in May to fill former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillFormer Obama official named NFL senior VP of communications Republicans fret over divisive candidates Lieu to Greene and Gosar: 'Take your nativist crap and shove it' MORE's seat.

"Remember, the special election that we had," McCarthy told reporters. "So if you want any indication going forward, that's the best indication."

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Trump's approval rating has also appeared to have affected down-ballot races. Democrats lead Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, 49 percent to 40.7 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight average.

Other ratings changes include Reps. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickDemocrats confront difficult prospects for midterms Surgeon who treated Gabby Giffords after shooting launches House bid in Arizona These House lawmakers aren't seeking reelection in 2022 MORE (D-Ariz.), Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockLawmakers tout bipartisan support for resolution criticizing Iran's government House Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden's address to Congress GOP lawmakers ask Mayorkas for documents on warnings from DHS to Biden on immigration MORE (R-Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (D-Calif.), Jason CrowJason CrowCongress demands answers on Afghanistan withdrawal Tensions rise as Democrats face Senate bottleneck on agenda Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution MORE (D-Colo.), Steve WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsOn The Trail: GOP's tyranny of the minority House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (R-Kan.), Jim HagedornJames Lee HagedornREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Hagedorn holds onto Minnesota House seat Chamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night MORE (R-Minn.), Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsMinnesota takes joy in beating New York for last House seat Bold leadership is necessary to curb violence against youth Democrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race MORE (D-Minn.), Richard HudsonRichard Lane HudsonGOP frustration with Liz Cheney 'at a boiling point' Need for national concealed carry reciprocity at all-time high Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-N.C.) and Dan Bishop (R-N.C.).

They also include Reps. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Top GOP lawmaker touts 'more flexible' PPP loans in bipartisan proposal MORE (R-Ohio), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Van TaylorVan TaylorHouse Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden's address to Congress Six ways to visualize a divided America House approves rules package for new Congress MORE (R-Texas), Ron WrightRon WrightUnsuccessful anti-Trump Republican candidate: GOP 'not living up to this moment' Democrats confront difficult prospects for midterms On The Trail: Texas underscores Democrats' struggle with voter turnout MORE (R-Texas), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsTexas Republicans condemn state Democrats for response to official calling Scott an 'Oreo' Watchdog: Capitol Police need 'culture change' Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (R-Texas) and Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerUninvited Trump is specter at GOP retreat McCarthy defends Trump response to deadly Jan. 6 riot Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost MORE (R-Wash.), as well as the open race in Indiana's 5th District to replace Rep. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksBold leadership is necessary to curb violence against youth Here are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Bottom line MORE (R).

-- Juliegrace Brufke contributed