On Thursday, nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report changed its forecast for five competitive home races in favor of the Democrats.
The changes follow a spike in enthusiasm from Democratic voters following the Supreme Court’s June decision that struck down historic federal abortion rights protections in Roe v. Wade, wrote Dave Wasserman, editor of the Cook Political Report. Democrats have exceeded expectations in every special election since the ruling.
They also come as Republicans, some of whom predicted a potentially record-breaking “red wave” election year, have tempered expectations on the midterm elections this year.
Last week another Analysis of the Cook political report said Republicans still looked like the favorites to take control of the House in the midterm elections. But the publication revised its forecast down from Republicans winning 15-30 seats to 10-20 seats.
The five House Cook districts moved on Thursday are:
Alaska’s at-large district, from probably Republican to toss-up
The change comes after former Alaska Republican Governor Sarah Palin lost a special election to Democrat Mary Peltola in the state’s first election using a new ranked-choice voting system.
It was the first time a Democrat had been elected to that seat since 1971.
Peltola and Palin, along with Republican Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye, will be on the general election ballot in November for full terms in the same seat.
Arizona’s 4th district, from skinny Democrat to probably Democrat.
Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton will face Republican Kelly Cooper, a Navy veteran who was endorsed by Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
Wasserman writes that “Cooper, a Navy veteran who owns BKD’s Backyard sports bar and questioned the integrity of the 2020 election, might be too right-wing for this left-leaning Biden + 10 Tempe seat.”
Maryland’s 6th District, from Skinny Democrat to Probably Democrat.
Democratic Rep. David Trone, founder of Total Wine & More, pumped up his campaign with $10 million after his begging district became less Democratic due to a redistricting. He faces Republican Del State. Neil Parrott.
“Any Republican scenario to oust Trone likely involved a Larry Hogan-esque performance in the race for governor at the top of the ticket. But that disappeared when State Deputy Dan Cox, whom Hogan called “not, in my opinion, mentally stable,” won the GOP primary,” Wasserman wrote.
The 3rd district of New York, from one Democrat to another.
In the open Long Island seat vacated by Rep. Tom Suozzi (D), who unsuccessfully ran for governor, Democratic National Committee member Rob Zimmerman will face Republican George Santos.
Virginia’s 7th District, from toss-up to skinny Democrat.
Representative Abigail Spanberger (D) will face former Republican police officer Yesli Vega for the Northern Virginia suburban seat.
Spanberger has long been considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House, and this year’s redistricting process moved her seat away from areas where she had the strongest support.
But one audio recording reported by Axios in which Vega expresses openness to the idea that it might be harder for women to get pregnant after rape, remarks that came just as the abortion issue was heating up, were considered a major help for Spanberger, who also holds a great financial advantage.