It’s hard to believe, but we’re now less than 30 days to election day. We have eight changes in our ratings this week, all in the House. Seven are in favor of Republicans, while one favors Democrats.
First off, the lone shift favoring Democrats comes from New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district. Like with Don Bolduc in the Senate race, we gave Karoline Leavitt the benefit of the doubt. Leavitt seems set to struggle in her race against Chris Pappas. Candidate quality matters, Leavitt is questionable at best in in that regard. Recent polls show her with a mountain to still climb with little time remaining. As a result, we’re moving this seat from Tossup to Leans Democratic. This is certainly still a competitive race, and one that a better candidate would have a better shot at flipping, but one in which we see Pappas having a clearer advantage in now.
In Oregon, we have two ratings changes benefitting Republicans. We’re moving OR-04 from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. The Beaver State is set to be one of the most interesting states this cycle, with a three-way gubernatorial race, two competitive legislative chambers, and three competitive House races. Both parties have thrown in some money as well to this seat, and Alek Skarlatos shouldn’t be underestimated as a candidate after a decent performance against Pete DeFazio in 2020, albeit in a much tighter district. Additionally, we’re moving Oregon’s 5th district from Leans Democratic back to Tossup. This was one of the seats we moved in response to the NY-19 special results. We may have been a bit overzealous on that with this race in hindsight. With movement back towards Republicans in the generic ballot and the relative chaos in Oregon, we feel comfortable moving this race back into the Tossup category.
In Rhode Island, we’re moving the open 2nd district – a Biden+14 seat – from Leans Democratic to Tossup. It’s been over a decade since Rhode Island last had a Tossup race in the House, but Republican nominee Allan Fung has indeed made this a race. The former mayor of Cranston has led all three polls conducted so far, most recently leading the 12 News/RWU poll by a 46-40 margin over Democrat Seth Magaziner. Fung is a great nominee, but the question is whether he can cross that crucial 49-50% threshold to win. But that question is for the final changes – for now, this race is clearly one of the most competitive in the nation.
We’re shifting two Texas districts in the Rio Grande Valley. In TX-15, an open Trump+3 seat, we’re moving the race from Leans Republican to Likely Republican. Republican Monica De La Cruz nearly flipped this seat back in 2020, and with Democrats cutting off aid to progressive Michelle Vallejo, it seems likely that De La Cruz will be flipping this seat red in November. Additionally, we’re shifting TX-35 from Leans Democratic to Tossup. This Biden+15 seat was supposed to be a Democratic sink, but that appears increasingly improbable. Vicente Gonzalez has run a poor campaign, repeatedly attacking incumbent Republican Mayra Flores’s Mexican heritage. More recently, his campaign has faced criticism for its payment of a blogger who referred to former President Barack Obama with a racial slur and targeted Flores with racist and sexist remarks. Flores, who narrowly won a special election earlier this year, has taken advantage of her incumbency and is using to gain ground on Gonzalez. If Republicans end up winning this race, it would be a major signal that South Texas Hispanics are truly shifting to the Republican column.
Finally, we have two ratings changes in Florida, both shifting Likely Republican districts off the board entirely to Safe Republican. The newly-gerrymandered Florida seats were always going to be a reach for Democrats, and as the cycle comes closer to the end, Democratic chances in these seats continue to drop. The first of those is the new 13th district in the St Pete/Tampa area. The seat is Trump +7 and with both DeSantis and Rubio’s races teetering on the edge of being Safe for Republicans, it’s off the board now as well. The second is the new 28th district, held by current FL-26 Rep. Carlos Giménez. This Trump+6 seat is seeing little investment, and that’s something badly needed for any race in the Miami area. Unlike the 27th, which is staying in the realm of competitiveness, the 28th is not.
State of Play
These latest changes bring our House ratings further into play. We now have 217 Republican-favored seats, 192 Democratic-favored seats, and 26 tossups; a bare minimum of 218 seats are needed to control the House.
As we get closer to the election, we’ll be eliminating the Tossup column entirely, moving all Tossup races into the Republican or Democratic columns.