Summertime is well and truly here. The days continue to get longer, the temperatures are warmer, and the humidity is back. It also means that it is high time for another set of big ratings changes in our House ratings. We have 14 changes this month, 13 in favor of Republicans and one in favor of Democrats.
- CA-09: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- CA-27: Tossup to Leans Republican
- CA-40: Leans Republican to Likely Republican
- CA-41: Safe Republican to Likely Republican
- CA-45: Tossup to Leans Republican
- CT-02: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- CT-05: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- IL-06: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- IA-03: Tossup to Leans Republican
- MN-01: Likely Republican to Safe Republican
- NM-03: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- NY-17: Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic
- OR-05: Leans Democratic to Tossup
- PA-10: Likely Republican to Safe Republican
The Big Picture
As always, you can find all our ratings at our ratings document; with all seats now on the board, Republicans are favored in 220 seats and Democrats in 194, with 21 rated as Tossups. This means we do believe Republicans are favored to reclaim the House of Representatives, even if every Tossup seat goes to Democrats.
I’ll start with the one change to the left we have this update: we’re moving California’s 41st district back on the board after Tuesday’s primaries. This was one we moved off the board two months ago, and it’s fair to say that was overeager. While Ken Calvert is certainly still a favorite, Democrats have a strong nominee in Will Rollins, and it’s possible this seat is decided by less than 10 points in November.
We also have four other changes in California in response to the states primary results on Tuesday. In Orange County, we’re moving Young Kim’s race in CA-40 from Leans Republican to Likely Republican. Kim survived a primary challenge from Greg Raths, and the total Republican vote is around 60/40 against the only Democrat. This was also a seat that was redrawn to a narrow Biden seat, compared to its previous makeup as a near double-digit Biden seat. Kim is a heavy favorite here, and it’s hard to see a clear path for her Democratic opponent in this race. The same goes for Michelle Steel in the new CA-45. Steel has arguably overperformed expectations in the primary, as have Republicans as a whole. This primary was also a near 60/40 split between Republicans and Democrats and questions now linger over the strength of Steel’s opponent Jay Chen.
We’ve also moved California’s 9th district from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic. This Central Valley seat is another area where Democrats have so far underperformed our expectations, and this is an area we could see a larger than average swing towards Republicans in these midterms. Republicans also got their favored candidate in Tom Patti, a member of the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors, as their nominee. Democrat Josh Harder is definitely still favored here, but this race will be close.
To round out California changes, we’ve also gone and changed CA-27 from Tossup to Leans Republican. This was not one we were expecting, but once again Mike Garcia seems to be in a better position than most expected. Republicans have taken over 50% of the vote in the primary so far and Democrats once again fell back to Christy Smith as their nominee. Smith is, somewhat notoriously, the candidate to lose to Garcia in the last two races in this area under the old CA-25. This overperformance, and the current environment, gives us enough justification to make that move.
The Changes Everywhere else
Elsewhere, we’ve made changes across the nation. To start off easy, we’ve moved IA-03 from Tossup to Leans Republican after State Senator Zach Nunn was confirmed as the GOP nominee for this seat. It is important to remember that this seat is a narrow Trump seat, and Nunn is a strong candidate for the GOP, having held on to a swingy State Senate district around Des Moines.
Then in Connecticut, in response to the environment, we’ve moved both CT-2 and CT-05 from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. Despite their Democratic bent, these eastern and western districts both take in some of the few areas in Connecticut that strongly support Republicans. Couple that with some swingy areas and the current environment, and both seats are in the range of very competitive. There is some intrigue statewide in Connecticut as well, as Senator Richard Blumenthal has gone on the air early this cycle, unusual for a Senator who has generally been very strong in his elections throughout his career.
In Pennsylvania, we’ve moved PA-10 off the board from Likely Republican to Safe Republican. While this is only a Trump +4 seat, with the amount of defense Democrats will be playing in PA this year, controversial Congressman Scott Perry won’t be fully targeted again until 2024. With that in mind, we believe Perry is safe for this cycle, but he should keep his eyes on 2024, when Democrats will look to strike hard at him again.
We shifted Minnesota’s 1st district from Likely Republican to Safe Republican after Jennifer Carnahan finished a very distant 3rd in the special election primary for this seat. The Likely rating was only a hedge for Carnahan. Without her as a nominee or a candidate, it is very very unlikely Democrats will be able to compete here in 2022.
In New Mexico’s 3rd district, the race shifts from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. As a consequence of a gerrymander to try and remove NM-02 Representative Yvette Harrell, the reliably Democratic NM-03 has became significantly more competitive. While certainly still a blue seat, it is a seat that voted about even with the state as a whole in 2020. That does bring some concern for Democrats as the gubernatorial race is set to be highly competitive this year. With Mark Ronchetti confirmed as the nominee for Republicans in that race, it’s possible we see that trickle down to the Congressional races as well. For those reasons, we move NM-03 into a more competitive rating.
In New York, we’re moving NY-17 from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. Since our last ratings change, reports have come out that internal numbers have looked grim for New York Democrats outside the city. That includes the Biden+10 NY-17, even with DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney moving here. Maloney also has to get his own house in order, as State Senator Alessandra Biaggi is challenging him to his left with support from AOC. This is another race entering competitiveness, part of a growing wave atmosphere for Republicans in 2022.
Finally, we are shifting OR-05 to Tossup from Leans Democratic. And no, this is not because Jamie McLeod-Skinner beat Kurt Schrader in the primary. This is a change that would have happened with either candidate. Even with the Democratic gerrymander in Oregon, this seat is by far Oregon’s most competitive, and the Salem area is one of the few true swingy areas in the state across elections. This is a seat worth watching, and we feel that it merits the tossup rating due to the current atmosphere in America against the Democratic Party and President Biden.