There’s 12 days left to go until the election, and the full picture is beginning to look much clearer.
We have eight ratings changes for you all today, seven in our House ratings and one Senate change – and all but one of them favors Republicans
Arizona’s Tightening Senate Race Shifts to Tossup
If there is one thing that is at all clear with the close senate races recently, it is that Arizona has tightened. Finally boosted by outside spending against the money-printing machine that is Democrat Mark Kelly, Blake Masters has seen his standing rise in recent weeks. Polling continues to show a Kelly advantage, but it is hovering around one to three points over Masters. All those leads are within every recent poll’s margin of error.
With the massive increase in outside spending boosting Masters as well, along with the fact Kari Lake’s slight lead over Katie Hobbs seems to be helping him, this race has changed in the last month. It’s one of the key four we are really going to have a tough time calling for the final update. But heading into the last week, it is clear, this race is once again a dead heat. We’re shifting it from Leans Democratic to Tossup. Democrats will now need to carry three of our four Tossup states (Arizona, Georgia Nevada, and Pennsylvania) to retain their Senate majority, while Republicans will only need to carry two.
Republicans See Odds Rise in Blue State House Races, Two Go Off the Board in Florida, Democrats Favored in Kansas City Suburbs
Of the seven House races we’re shifting, two are moving Republican-favored seats off the board in Florida. Both FL-07 and FL-15 are moving from Likely Republican for Safe Republican. It’s increasingly difficult to see Democrats winning anywhere in Florida this cycle, and these changes represent that. Part of that is a remarkably poor performance in the early vote numbers for Democrats, which could portend nearly double-digit statewide wins for Republicans, but it also speaks to the strength of the DeSantis-mander map. Under a fair map, both of these seats would be more competitive, but in their current gerrymandered form, neither are.
In Upstate New York – one of the key bellwether regions to watch on Election Night – we have three changes, all favoring Republicans. In NY-17 and NY-19, Democrats and Republicans alike have been dumping piles of cash. Republicans are feeling increasingly confident that they’re going to see a boost in Upstate, and these spending numbers show it. The more interesting of the two is the 17th, where DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s seat is being moved from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. Democrats are scrambling to spend late to save their campaign chair. Last time this happened, in 2020, it was a sign that Republicans would end up over-performing expectations in the House. Could the same ring true in 12 days? We’ll see.
NY-19 is a similar story – over a million dollars has been spent combined in the last week by both parties. This Biden +4.6 seat was one we moved left back in August. But with signs that Democrats have come back down to Earth in the House races, combined with the spending and its status as an open race it’s hard to say either candidate is favored. So NY-19 is moving from Leans Democratic to Tossup.
We’re also trimming one other race in Upstate New York – the open NY-22. We’re moving this race from Tossup to Leans Republican, after signs that Republicans are more confident here than Democrats. While this is a Biden+7 seat, the area in question is more working class than either the 17th or 19th. The new redraw of this seat shifts from east to west rather than west to east – that means instead of taking in counties like Cortland or Cayuga, both of which were within 10 points in 2020, it takes in Madison and Oneida. Oneida in particular is one of interest, where there’s significantly more white working class voters. With that in mind, and Democrats focusing elsewhere Upstate, we feel comfortable in saying Republicans are slightly favored to retain this seat, even without popular incumbent John Katko.
In OR-05, we’re moving that race from Tossup to Leans Republican. We mentioned Monday how Democrats have moved spending in this seat to neighboring OR-06, and reporting states that this isn’t a show of confidence in progressive Democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner. It’s been a long time since Republicans have held more than the eastern Oregon seat in the House delegation – they’ve not held a second seat since the 1995-97 Congress. We believe that changes this year and that Lori Chavez-DeRemer is now a favorite to win this seat.
Finally, we’re shifting Kansas’s 3rd from Tossup to Leans Democratic. While this seat was drawn in a way to keep it competitive, we do not think it will be enough this year for Republicans. Outside spending is not very high here, and Democrats feel confident that the strong top of the ticket lead by Laura Kelly will help downballot. Sharice Davids should also not be underestimated as a candidate herself, having proven twice to be up to the challenge.