Inside Elections has also revised its projections for how many seats Democrats are likely to pick up in each chamber. In the Senate, it is now a net gain of four to six seats, which puts Democrats well on track for the majority. They need a net gain of four seats to flip the Senate, or three if they win the White House, as the Vice President breaks ties with the Senate.
The more notable of the two changes in the Senate race classification is in Kansas, moving from Lean Republican to Tilt Republican. Senator Pat Roberts is retiring, leaving an open seat in a state Trump is carried by nearly 21 points. Democrats have not won a Senate seat here since 1932, so this should theoretically have been easy for Republicans to have.
But GOP rep. Roger Marshall, whose primary victory over Kris Kobach eased the Republicans, does not provide much relief in the final stretch of the campaign. Instead, national GOP groups will have to spend on his behalf, while Democrat Barbara Bollier – a former Republican – raised nearly $ 13 million in the third quarter. She began October with about $ 7.6 million compared to Marshall’s $ 1.7 million.
Colorado’s shift from Tilt Democratic to Lean Democratic is more predictable. GOP Senator Cory Gardner is running for another term in a state Trump lost by five points in 2016 and could lose by an even larger margin in November. The battle for the Supreme Court’s vacancies has only nationalized the race further, reminding voters that he is still a Republican senator despite what Gardner says about loving the environment and being bipartite.
In the House, within elections, Democrats are now planning to pick up a net of 10 to 20 seats. It is an extraordinary position for Democrats to be considering defending their historic midterm gains in 2018, many of them in districts Trump carried four years ago. But the president turns out to be a drag on Republicans by voting even in districts he won, while helping Democrats clash in red districts that were not part of the battlefield at the beginning of the cycle. Republicans would need a 17-seat net gain for a majority, which seems very, very unlikely.
Suburban squares are moving toward Democrats
In a world where house races have become even more nationalized, Trump’s unpopularity is bad news for congressional Republicans – even longtime established in traditionally red districts.
Arizona’s 6th District, for example, voted for Trump in 2016, but it has one of the highest rates of college education of anyone still represented by a Republican, according to Inside Elections. That’s one of the reasons it’s moving from Tilt Republican to Toss-up, though rep. Nor has David Schweikert done himself any favors with his ethical questions. Meanwhile, Biden and Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly are likely to boost Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a doctor in the emergency room who has outraised that fifties.
Arkansas’ 2. district, represented by GOP Rep. French Hill, and Missouri 2nd District, represented by GOP Rep. Ann Wagner, shares similar suburban dynamics that make them competitive for Democrats in a way they have not been before. Inside Elections moves Hill’s district from Lean Republican to Tilt Republican and Wagner’s from Tilt Republican to Toss-up. Wagner’s defeat would be a loss for Republican women, of whom there are only 13 in the current GOP conference, with two not fighting for re-election.
The Long Island suburban poll threatens New York rep. Lee Zeldin, a Trump ally facing Democrat Nancy Goroff, the former chairman of the Stony Brook Chemistry department. She has leaned into her background as a scientist since the start of the race, but the pandemic – and Trump’s contradiction of scientific guidelines – has given her another chance to argue that it’s time for Trump and Zeldin to go. Inside Elections moves the race from likely Republican to lean Republican.
The strength of the bite can also be a threat to the Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a first-year student against former state candidate Wendy Davis. The race moves from Tilt Republican to Toss-up.
The top of the ticket may also improve the Democratic chances in Florida’s 18th district, where the GOP rep. Brian Mast runs for a third period. The race moves out of the category Solid Republican to Probably Republican.
Democrats’ odds also look better in some suburbs they are defending, including six, they turned around in 2018. Inside the election, the Democratic rep. Lucy McBath’s rematch against the former GOP rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District from Tilt Democratic to Lean Democratic. Another pickup from 2018, Kansas’ 3. district, shifts from likely democratic to solid democratic and falls from the list of competitive seats. Likewise, Iowa’s 3rd District is moving from Tilt Democratic to Lean Democratic. New Jersey’s 3rd District is moving from Lean Democratic to probably Democratic, while Texas ’32. District moves from likely democratic to solid democratic.
Florida’s 26th District was a bright spot for Republicans this summer. With a strong recruitment of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Trump doing better with Cuban American voters, it looked like they had a chance to remove the Democratic novice Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. But it’s hard to see Gimenez overcome the national environment in this district, which Clinton won, and Biden is likely to bear. It moves from Toss-up to Tilt Democratic.
Other seats are moving toward Democrats
It’s not just the suburbs where Democrats are expected to do better. A few seats that are either very rural or just places where Trump did well in 2016 are also moving toward Democrats.
Maine’s 2nd district, for example, falls completely off the list of competitive seats and moves from Lean Democratic to Solid Democratic. Trump comfortably carried the state’s northern district in 2016 – and he could still win it this year, but probably with much less given Biden’s intervention with white working – class voters. That’s a problem for the president, as he expected to vote in an election here. Besides Biden, who made this seat competitive, the Democratic rep. Jared Golden, who turned around the district in 2018 in the country’s first use of ranked election for a house race, a strong profile in the district and a significant economic advantage over his GOP challenger.
Another district where Trump did well in 2016 – South Carolina’s 1st district – was to be a top-notch opportunity for Republicans after Democrat Joe Cunningham turned the Charleston-area district in 2018. But the coastal district does not look nearby as strong for Trump this year, while a competitive Senate race can also increase Democratic turnout. It moves from Tilt Democratic to Lean Democratic.
Republicans were hoping to target the Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright in the 8th District, which Trump wore. But Biden’s advantage in the state will not help Republicans remove the four-term Democrat, and it is now a solid democratic race.
Democrats are increasingly excited about taking over more Trump districts. Minnesota’s 1st district, a rural district that Trump carried by a wide margin, is one of three districts that Republicans turned around in 2018, where the GOP rep. Jim Hagedorn narrowly wins what was then an open seat. But the first-year Republican has faced ethical issues and fought to raise money in his rematch against Democrat Dan Feehan. It moves from Tilt Republican to Toss-up.
Virginia’s 5th District, where an underfunded Republican defeated the GOP established by a convention, looks brighter to Democrats with a well-funded candidate capable of benefiting from the national environment. It moves from Lean Republican to Tilt Republican.
Pennsylvania’s 10th District, where Democrats have long been enthusiastic about their recruitment, is moving State Attorney Eugene DePasquale from Tilt Republican to Toss-up. He is trying to remove GOP rep. Scott Perry, a member of the House Freedom Caucus. In Illinois, GOP reps. Rodney Davis looks like he’s in greater danger in a rematch against Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in the 13th District, moving from Tilt Republican to Toss-up.
At the beginning of the cycle, it would have been hard to imagine that North Carolina’s 11th District could be competitive. But it got a little less red in court-ordered redistribution, and now that Meadows is in the White House, it’s an open seat. It moves from solid Republican to likely Republican.
Seats move towards GOP
There are far fewer pickup options for Republicans than at the beginning of the cycle. But two democratic seats are moving their way. Both are seats Trump won, where he is expected to do well again in 2020, although he does not match his performance in 2016.
Minnesota’s 7th District is the place that a Democrat possesses that Trump had by the largest margin in 2016. Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, is known in the massive district and is widely regarded as the last Democrat to hold the seat. But he has faced stiff competition from an underfunded GOP challenger the last two cycles, and this time his opponent – former lieutenant Michelle Fischbach – actually has money and national party support. Inside Elections moves the 7th District from Tilt Democratic to Toss-up.
Democrats are also on the defensive in New Mexico’s 2nd district, as rep. Xochitl Torres Small turned around in 2018 when it was an open seat. She is locked in a rematch against Republican Yvette Herrell. The race moves from Tilt Democratic to Toss-up.
Texas ’23. district is one of four Clinton districts still owned by a Republican. Democrats were considered to have a particularly good shot at electing the district this year with GOP reps. Will Hurd is not running for re-election. Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who lost narrowly two years ago, had a lead over Republican Tony Gonzales, who was stuck in a protracted runoff. But an encouraging national environment has not rolled down to this border district that spreads nearly half of the state as much as elsewhere. It moves from Lean Democratic to Tilt Democratic.