Three more weeks from Tuesday folks, three more weeks and we are at Election Day. Crazy isn’t it? With that in mind, we’re starting to trim the list of tossups. We have six House changes for you guys this week, along with a change each in our Senate and Governors ratings.
Florida’s Gubernatorial and Senate Races Move Off the Board
Both Florida statewide races, which we’ve had at Likely Republican from day one, are shifting to Safe Republican. We don’t anticipate any scenario November 8th where either DeSantis or Rubio loses, and for DeSantis specifically that’s been shown in recent polling. DeSantis might be polarizing on a national level, but he has led consistently since Labor Day, usually by large, nearly double-digit margins. The same hasn’t been said for Rubio, who’s been around the mid-single digits with his polling advantage. However, we don’t think Rubio is going to underperform DeSantis by a large margin – or specifically, not one large enough to lose. It should also be mentioned that Democrat Val Demings has been stuck around 41-42% in even favorable-seeming polls as well. That would mean she has a lot of ground to gain in three weeks, and we don’t see that happening against Rubio.
Republicans Projected to Gain House as Five Tossups Move to Leans
At Elections Daily, we don’t leave any races as Tossups on election day, and we’re now beginning to trim our lengthy list of House Tossup races. In fact, that’s what five of our six House shifts are this month. The exception here is NY-01, which we are moving from Leans Republican to Likely Republican. This is a seat we moved after the NY-19 special. Initially, we wondered if Democrats might make a play for this open Long Island seat. However, outside money hasn’t come in as the DCCC doesn’t see it as a serious opportunity this year; we expect Republicans to hold it.
Two of our Tossup races are moving to Leans Republican: CA-27 and NM-02. Democrats have stopped spending in the new CA-27, and we doubt that’s due to confidence in two-time loser Christy Smith. Mike Garcia has outperformed in tougher years before, and we think he can do the same this year – especially with federal aid for Smith leaving. NM-02 is a slightly different story, but the noise on the ground doesn’t paint a good tale for Democrats. This newly-gerrymandered Biden+6 seat was designed to be a flip, but nominee Gabe Vasquez’s efforts to cast himself as a moderate have been undermined by a history of controversial progressive statements, including opposition to the crucial oil and gas industry and support for defunding the police. Crime has proven to be a successful line of attacks for Republicans so far this cycle, and we think it will work here as well; additionally, there’s been little in terms of outside spending here, as Democrats are still understandably focused on defense.
On the other side, we’re moving three Tossup races to Leans Democratic. In Alaska’s only house seat, the momentum from the August special has only continued for Mary Peltola. Peltola has messaged herself as a perfect Democrat for Alaska, already taking stands outside the usual Democratic norm on issues like gun rights and energy. Along with the fact that Republicans in Alaska still can’t get their act together on their front, we see Peltola as a slight enough favorite now to move this race into the Lean Democratic column.
The same could be said for Virginia’s 7th district. The money is still flowing in this race, but Spanberger has once again done an exemplary job of messaging in this race. She’s reintroduced herself as well as you could ask her to in a district that is almost all new territory for her and has painted Yesli Vega as a radical. Polling is in favor of Spanberger as well; a generic ballot test from CNU showed a D+6 generic in Virginia, which would see Spanberger favored, if you were to align that to a base shift statewide from 2020. That base shift would also see Republican Jen Kiggans favored in VA-02, which we already have at Leans Republican. Finally, in NV-04, Republicans have all but abandoned nominee Sam Peters. Peters himself hasn’t raised much money, as GOP and DNC eyes seem focused all on Nevada’s 3rd, where April Becker is giving Susie Lee a major challenge.
With these changes, Republicans are now projected to win enough seats (219) to regain control of the House, while Democrats are far behind at 195. An additional 21 seats remain in our Tossup column.