In the wake of Conor Lamb’s near-certain victory in a strongly conservative district in southwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday, political handicappers are moving a slew of seats in Democrats’ direction – a reflection of a national political environment looking increasingly toxic for Republicans trying to hold their House majority this fall.
On Friday, CNN changed the ratings of 17 House contests – all in Democrats favor. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan handicapping site, moved 9 races in Democrats’ favor on Friday as well.
What those changes mean is a) a broader playing field on which the fight for House control will be fought and b) far more Republican vulnerabilities than Democratic ones on that playing field.
CNN rates 69 GOP-held seats as competitive as compared to just 15 for Democrats. The Cook Report now carries 73 Republican seats as competitive compared to a meager 17 for Democrats. Inside Elections, another political tip sheet, has 57 Republican seats in its competitive ranks and just 12 Democratic seats.
The 2018 election was always going to be a tough one for Republicans. The party made huge gains in the House in both the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, pickups that gave them control of more seats than Republicans had held in decades. That fact combined with historical trend of losses for president’s party in midterm elections boded poorly for GOP chances.