Election handicappers shift more than a dozen House races toward GOP

Two election handicappers are collectively moving more than a dozen House races in the GOP’s favor, in the latest sign that Democrats are facing an increasingly bleak outlook in their bid to maintain control of the lower chamber in November’s midterms.

The Cook Political Report shifted eight House races in districts stretching from New York to Nevada toward Republicans on Wednesday. 

The changes include moving three previously “likely” Democratic districts — Indiana’s 1st, New York’s 19th and North Carolina’s 1st — into “lean” Democratic territory. Meanwhile, three districts that previously leaned toward Democrats — Nevada’s 3rd and 4th, as well as Virginia’s 7th district — are now toss-ups, according to the election handicapper.

The Cook Political Report also shifted New Jersey’s 3rd District and New York’s 4th District into “likely” Democratic territory rather than “solid” Democratic territory.

Each of those districts — except for two — are currently held by Democrats seeking reelection this year. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) is retiring from her seat in New York’s 4th District and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) is not seeking reelection in North Carolina’s 1st District.

In a similar move, Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics moved 11 House districts in favor of Republicans, including six currently held by Democrats.

There’s some overlap with the Cook Political Report’s changes. Indiana’s 1st District, for example, has also been shifted into the “lean” Democratic column. But Sabato’s Crystal Ball also moved a handful of Republican-held seats in Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas toward the GOP. 

Democrats were already facing a dim outlook in this year’s elections, given President Biden’s sagging approval ratings, economic anxieties among Americans and the fact that the party in power tends to lose ground in Congress in midterms.

The shifting outlook also comes as the decennial redistricting process nears its end, offering a sharper picture of the 2022 House battlefield. Only three states — Florida, Missouri and New Hampshire — have yet to complete redistricting. 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball also noted that Republicans fared well in fundraising in the first three months of the year, writing in an analysis that first-quarter fundraising reports show that “House Democratic incumbents continue to raise impressive amounts of money, but that there are plenty of Republican House incumbents and challengers who are also doing fine or better than fine on the money front.”

Republicans need to net only five seats in the House this year to recapture their majority in the lower chamber — a goal that appears increasingly likely, Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, wrote.

“Our main question about the House continues to be not whether Republicans will flip the House – although we would not completely shut the door on Democrats’ retaining control if the political environment improves markedly – but rather how big the Republicans’ eventual majority will be,” Kondik wrote.

Tags 2022 midterms Biden Cook Political Report House elections Joe Biden Kathleen Rice Sabato's Crystal Ball

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