As we reach the second Monday of August, it means it’s time for a ratings update. We have five changes in our house ratings and one change in our Senate ratings.
Washington’s Senate Race Moves Off the Board
At the start of the Summer months, we moved Washington’s Senate race on the board to Likely Democratic. This was because Republicans had shown interest in investing in the race and Democrat Patty Murray had started spending on the air. Those two signs causes us to move it on the board. Post-primary, however, that early hope should be gone.
As written very well by our own Kraz Greinetz in 2020, Washington primary results are pretty similar to the general election margins. Currently Democrats are pulling 57% of the vote (Murray taking 53% of that) and Republicans 41%. It’s definitely possible that margin gets slightly closer as the remaining ballots are expected to tilt more Republican. However, it will not get anywhere close enough for us to still consider this race competitive.
Changes in Environment and Risky Candidates see Democrats slightly improve in the House
Of the five changes we have in our House ratings, four of those favor Democrats.
- AZ-06: Leans Republican to Likely Republican
- CA-27: Leans Republican to Tossup
- GA-02: Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic
- MI-03: Toss-Up to Leans Democratic
- WA-03: Safe Republican to Likely Republican
The one change in favor of Republicans is actually because of a solid candidate selection. Republicans in Arizona’s 6th district nominated Juan Ciscomani, a senior advisor to Doug Ducey for the past seven years. Ciscomani was a significantly more normal choice compared to the other two candidates in the, and his nomination gives Republicans a very good chance of flipping this Biden +.1 seat.
In California’s 27th, we’ve changed this race back to a tossup. We still have significant doubts about Christy Smith as a candidate, and that opinion hasn’t changed. However, this seat was made slightly bluer in redistricting, and a more even environment might do enough to pull Smith across the line against Mike Garcia.
The same can be said in Georgia’s 2nd. Not only does a more even environment make it significantly harder for Republicans to win here, they also didn’t get their favored candidate here. With Chris West beating Jeremy Hunt in the runoffs a month back, the NRCC has shown less interest in investing here. West would need good money to beat Bishop, and it doesn’t seem like that’s coming. That makes him a big underdog now, and this isn’t a seat that’s likely to make any noise.
In both Washington’s 3rd and Michigan’s 3rd, it is questionable candidate quality that drives these changes. In MI-03, John Gibbs beat Peter Meijer by three points in last Tuesday’s primary race. Gibbs could certainly still win the Biden+9 seat, but is considerably more conservative than Meijer and does not have the brand or incumbency that Meijer has/had. With that in mind, we now consider this a Leans Democratic seat and one of the few Democratic flips we have on the board.
Finally, moving Washington’s 3rd on the board because challenger Joe Kent is on track to knock out Jamie Herrera Beutler in the seat. Kent is a candidate who has had multiple controversies follow him. There’s been 2020 election denial, ties to white nationalists, and a hard-right platform. While we certainly do not see Kent’s questionable attributes as enough to truly endanger the seat this year, it’s enough to put this Trump+4 seat on the board. Watch this seat as a potentially key race in 2024.