Republicans are in a very strong position to win back the House in November, according to new ratings released recently by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political handicapping service based in Washington.
With redistricting – the decennial redrawing of congressional seats – more than halfway done (31 states have finalized their lines for the next decade), the Cook Report released its first ratings of districts in states that are done with redistricting.
The rankings suggest a clear Republican lean to the playing field. There are 22 Democratic districts ranked as competitive by Cook as opposed to just 14 for Republicans.
But that doesn’t even tell the full story. Of the 22 Democratic seats, three (Arizona’s 6th, New Jersey’s 7th and Texas’ 15th) are ranked as “lean Republican” while two more (Arizona’s 2nd and Michigan’s 10th) are rated “likely Republican.”
Republicans have only a single seat that is ranked as “lean Democratic” or “likely Democratic”: the open seat race in Illinois’ 13th.
Among the “toss up” races, there are also more Democratic seats (eight) than Republican ones (six).
This is obviously less than a full picture of the playing field. At the moment, the Cook Report is ranking 263 seats – roughly 60% of the eventual 435-seat playing field.
But it does suggest that Republicans have effectively used the advantages they had going into this redistricting year, carving out GOP-friendly seats and solidifying existing members in maps across the country.
“Still a long way to go, but Republicans clear favorites for control,” tweeted David Wasserman, the redistricting guru at Cook.
What’s remarkable about the Republican outlook in the House is that it remains so positive despite the fact that its titular leader (Donald Trump) is not only embracing fact-free claims about the 2020 election but also fomenting a civil war within the GOP.
Winning a House majority – as looks likely right now – may well paper over those problems within the party. Or so Republicans hope.
The Point: Republicans seem to be prospering, politically, in spite of themselves.