Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats

A top election handicapper has shifted the prospects of eight House races in favor of the Democrats, predicting the party will pick up 10 to 15 seats this cycle.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report made its final House forecast Monday, a day before the Nov. 3 elections, indicating that a combination of factors — from the Democrats' sharp fundraising advantage, to dozens of Republican retirements, to President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE's unpopularity, particularly in the suburbs — leaves Democrats poised to pad their majority in the next Congress. 

"After impeachment and a Supreme Court fight (that wasn't much of one) and amid a global pandemic and racial reckoning, many congressional candidates have struggled to control their own destiny," David Wasserman, Cook's top House analyst, wrote in announcing the changes. "But the House battlefield has steadily moved towards Democrats all cycle."

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Cook's new forecast indicates that a pair of incumbent Republicans now face real risk of defeat, putting Reps. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Fiscal conservatives should support postal reform  MORE (Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and French HillJames (French) French HillYour must-read holiday book list from members of Congress How expanded credit data can help tackle inequities Fighting Biden's dangerous reshaping of the Federal Reserve MORE (Ark.) in the vulnerable "toss-up" category.

Another Republican seat, held by retiring Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantTexas House Democrat who fled state announces congressional bid Republican Van Duyne wins race for Texas House seat Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats MORE (Texas), now leans in favor of the Democratic candidate, Candace Valenzuela, a 36-year-old former school board official, providing Democrats with an enticing pickup opportunity in a state dominated by Republicans. 

Yet another Republican from the Lone Star State, Rep. John CarterJohn Rice CarterTrump endorses Texas rep who said he 'very well may have' committed impeachable offenses Early redistricting plans show GOP retrenching for long haul Bottom line MORE, is also facing tougher headwinds, according to Cook's analysis, which shifts the nine-term lawmaker into the "leans" Republican column. Carter had previously been deemed the "likely" victor. 

Cook predicts that two sitting Democrats thought to be vulnerable are now on much firmer footing. Reps. Andy Kim (N.J.) and Conor Lamb (Pa.), two more suburban lawmakers, had previously been in the "lean Democrat" category. Now they're both considered "likely" to return to Washington next year.

In its final shift, Cook also forecasts that two incumbent Democrats are now virtually shoo-ins to win reelection: Reps Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerRedistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want Democrats gain edge from New Jersey Redistricting Commission-approved maps Progressives look to regroup after Build Back Better blowup MORE (N.J.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) are now considered "solid" Democratic seats, a change from their "likely" designation beforehand. Both represent suburban districts carried by Trump in 2016.

Democrats already enjoy a comfortable majority in the lower chamber, boasting a 232-to-197 seat advantage, with five vacancies. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse leaders unveil bill to boost chip industry, science competitiveness with China Pelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year MORE (D-Calif.) has made it no mystery that she wants to cushion that edge so Democrats can maintain their majority in the 2022 cycle — the first mid-term election under a potential Joe BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE administration, which, if history is any gauge, will be a difficult one for the party of the incumbent president.