September 21, 2010

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING FIREWALL:

True Size of GOP Wave Still Developing (CQ-Roll Call, 9/20/10)

This round of race rating changes is major in that it marks the first time this cycle that we are moving Democratic incumbents into the Leans Republican category — meaning the odds are greater that they will be defeated, rather than re-elected, in November. With two notable exceptions, the bulk of changes to our ratings are positive for Republicans.

The re-election races of seven Democratic incumbents have been moved to the Leans Republican category. Six of the incumbents were first elected in 2008. Three were elected in districts that supported President Barack Obama in 2008 but President George W. Bush in 2004: Reps. Debbie Halvorson in eastern Illinois, Steve Driehaus in southwestern Ohio and Mary Jo Kilroy in central Ohio.

Without a doubt, the most difficult rating change to make was our decision to move veteran Texas Rep. Chet Edwards , a Blue Dog first elected in 1990, into the Leans Republican category. Edwards is a tough, smart and seasoned campaigner who has been targeted by the GOP cycle after cycle, but who always held on to win another term. He now represents the district that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried by the largest margin in 2008, a testament to his campaigning skills in previous cycles. While we find it hard to bet against Edwards, the mood of the electorate in his staunchly conservative district, combined with the strength of his Republican opponent, businessman Bill Flores, make him more likely to lose than to win.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 21, 2010 1:58 PM
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