The race for the House remains largely unchanged, but a few seats that weren’t expected to be competitive are trending in that direction.
Three of the five races we are moving on our race ratings chart today — an open seat in Nevada and the seats held by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and John Tierney (D-Mass.) — didn’t begin the election cycle on anybody’s radar, really. But circumstances change and elections are funny things.
Even with the changes below, though, Democrats are still going to have to win basically every seat that they are currently spending money to win, and that will be very tough.
According to our current projections, Republicans are favored to win 226 seats, while Democrats are favored to win 183 seats.
From there, if Democrats lost all 26 “toss-up” races, they would lose a total of 10 seats this election. If they won all 26, they would gain a net of 16 seats — well shy of the 25 they need to win the majority.
Here’s how that looks on a continuum.
And now, to the updates!
Moving in the GOP’s direction:
* NV-4 moves from “lean Democratic” to “toss-up”
This is an emerging sore spot for Democrats — a seat that was basically drawn for them to win. Yet even as Republican Danny Tarkanian faces a $17 million federal judgment against him and his family, he remains neck and neck with Democrat Steven Horsford. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even took aim at Tarkanian this week.
* MA-6 moves from “lean Democratic” to “toss-up”
Things seem to be getting worse for Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and it’s hard to call him a favorite at this point. A Boston Globe poll in late September showed him trailing 37 percent to 31 percent, and he just got outraised by Republican Richard Tisei in the third quarter.
* AZ-1 moves from “lean Democratic” to “toss-up”
Former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who is trying to win a district with a slight GOP lean, just got passed over for the Arizona Republic’s endorsement. “We have seen more complete meltdowns in our board meetings, but never one so unexpected,” the paper said of Kirkpatrick. Republican Jonathan Paton has a good shot here.
Moving in Democrats’ favor:
* MI-1 moves from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic”
A series of Democratic polls suggest Democrat Gary McDowell has a slight edge over freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.). Benishek beat McDowell by double digits in 2010 but is stuck in the low 40s this time around.
* MN-6 moves from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) spent a good portion of the last two years telling the country that she was truly an Iowan. Now she’s got a wealthy self-funder running against her who, according to recent polls, is within single digits.