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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 TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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 McCaulSenate Intelligence panel working on legislation around mandatory cyber breach notification McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs Republican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel MORE (Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and French HillJames (French) French HillIn 'restoring America's soul,' Biden can become a hero for the persecuted Build back nuclear Republicans rally to keep Cheney in power MORE (Ark.) in the vulnerable "toss-up" category.

Another Republican seat, held by retiring Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantRepublican Van Duyne wins race for Texas House seat Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats Democrats seek wave to bolster House majority 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 CarterBottom line READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit 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) GottheimerPolice reform talks ramp up amid pressure from Biden, families The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to take stock, revive push for big government As Americans struggle, Biden's tax plan helps blue states and foreign nations 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 PelosiOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women 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 BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE administration, which, if history is any gauge, will be a difficult one for the party of the incumbent president.