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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 CartwrightHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election The Hill's Campaign Newsletter: Election Day – Part 4 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 WextonPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector Democratic lawmakers call for Pence to invoke 25th Amendment, remove Trump from office 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics 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 RoyWyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote GOP divided over Liz Cheney's future Trust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots MORE's race in Texas's 21st District, which was moved from "lean Republican" to "toss-up."

The development comes as President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism 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 BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE with a lead of 8.6 points over Trump. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy supports Cheney remaining in leadership amid calls for her to step down The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden hits the ground running on COVID Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear 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 HillObamas to attend Biden inauguration Trump pardons George Papadopoulos in latest batch of pardons Former Rep. Katie Hill files lawsuit against ex-husband, Daily Mail over nude photos 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 KirkpatrickDemocrat O'Halleran wins reelection in Arizona House race Arizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran wins Democratic primary Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick wins Democratic primary MORE (D-Ariz.), Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Coalition of 7 conservative House Republicans says they won't challenge election results Five Republicans vote for bill to decriminalize marijuana MORE (R-Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (D-Calif.), Jason CrowJason CrowThe GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment MORE (D-Colo.), Steve WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat Ethics panel opens probe into Rep. Watkins after voter fraud charges 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 PhillipsDemocrats poised to impeach Trump again Capitol Police say reports of officer's death are wrong Pro-Trump mob overruns Capitol, forcing evacuation MORE (D-Minn.), Richard HudsonRichard Lane HudsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results 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 approves rules package for new Congress House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Van Taylor wins reelection to Texas seat held by GOP since 1968 MORE (R-Texas), Ron WrightRonald (Ron) WrightHouse Republican from Texas tests positive for COVID-19 READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Top GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee MORE (R-Texas), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Trump Georgia call divides House GOP Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (R-Texas) and Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerUpton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Kinzinger says he is 'in total peace' after impeachment vote MORE (R-Wash.), as well as the open race in Indiana's 5th District to replace Rep. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksBottom line House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican MORE (R).

-- Juliegrace Brufke contributed