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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 TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT 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 McCaulKremlin critic Navalny detained in Moscow upon return to Russia Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP Lawmakers push back on late Trump terror designation for Yemen's Houthis MORE (Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and French HillJames (French) French HillOversight committee member questions Treasury Department's approval of 0M loan to shipping firm House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Mnuchin faces heat over coronavirus rescue loan to trucking company 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 CarterREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit GOP's Carter fends off challenge in Texas 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) GottheimerGOP Problem Solvers Caucus co-chairman says he'll vote in favor of ,000 checks House passes massive spending deal, teeing up Senate vote McConnell getting much of what he wants in emerging relief deal 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 PelosiCowboys for Trump founder arrested following Capitol riot Retired Army general: 'We can't have demonstrators showing up at a state Capitol with damn long guns' Graham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump 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 BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE administration, which, if history is any gauge, will be a difficult one for the party of the incumbent president.