After last night’s primaries in three states (Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), the summer of primaries is finally over. While results from Delaware will change none of our ratings, the results from Rhode Island and New Hampshire have resulted in a few shifts in our ratings.
Rhode Island’s Gubernatorial Race Moves onto the Board
ME-Gov: Tossup to Leans Democratic
RI-Gov: Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic
Incumbent Governor Dan McKee, who took the office after Gina Raimondo resigned in March 2021 to become Biden’s Secretary of Commerce, survived two strong primary challengers last night. He now has the opportunity to earn a full term in one of the bluest states in the country.
McKee, as most Democrats are in Rhode Island, is the strong favorite. However, as with most states, Republicans have performed better in gubernatorial races compared to any federal race. McKee’s dismal approvals play a role here too; in the last Morning Consult poll, he ranks among the least popular Governors in the country with only 38% of voters approving of his performance while 43% oppose. GOP candidate Ashley Kalus is not the strongest candidate, but McKee’s approvals and poor primary performance are enough for us to at least move this race onto the board.
As we announced earlier this week, we’ve also shifted Maine’s gubernatorial race to Leans Democratic from Tossup. We think incumbent Democrat Janet Mills is the favorite here, but don’t count out former Governor Paul LaPage, who has overcome difficult elections twice before in 2010 and 2014.
With Rhode Island now on the board, our ratings remain otherwise stable; we expect Massachusetts and Maryland to flip to the Democratic Party, and we expect Kansas to flip to the Republicans. Four other states (Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin) are rated as Tossups; Democrats currently hold all of these but Arizona.
New Hampshire District Slips for Republicans
NH-02: Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic
While there are multiple changes we could make in New Hampshire, we’re only going to make one for now. New Hampshire’s 2nd District was drawn specifically for George Hansel, the preferred candidate and personal friend of wildly popular Governor Chris Sununu. Sununu rejected attempts to draw a gerrymandered map, arguing that taking the 2nd district off the table could prevent Republicans from claiming both seats in 2022.
That bet did not pay off last night, as the moderate Hansel lost to Bob Burns, who ran much more to the right. Burns is something of a perennial candidate as well. He lost the primary for the old 2nd last cycle, and lost the 4th District Executive Council seat in both 2012 and 2014. Considering the current environment and candidate quality, this seat moves into back into the Likely Democratic category.
Our House Ratings remain otherwise stable, with Republicans favored in 218 seats (the bare minimum for a majority) and Democrats favored in 193. 24 districts are currently rated as Tossups.