Our Fourth Forecast Update

We have 25 rating changes in our forecasts today, with most of them being in congressional races. After reviewing the Q1 fundraising reports, we decided to change 18 congressional ratings, most of them in the leftward direction. This is because Democrats absolutely dominated in fundraising since January this year, especially in competitive districts, as congressional election guru Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report noted on Twitter.

Two of these congressional rating changes are in the US Senate, and both are in the leftward direction. In one of the most critical races in the chamber, Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly continues to sweep in not only the polls, where he has an 8 point average lead, but also in fundraising. Kelly raised $11 million in the first quarter, ending with $19.7 million cash on hand. Republican incumbent Martha McSally on the other hand raised $6.3 million, ending the quarter with $10.2 million cash on hand. Given the polling and Kelly consistently beating McSally in fundraising, we’re moving the race leftward, from Tilt D to Lean D.

In the open race in New Mexico’s US Senate election, Democrat Ben Ray Luján raised little over $1 million in his bid to keep the seat in Democrat hands, ending the quarter with $2.5 million. The Republican with the strongest fundraising, Mark Ronchetti, raised about $650,000, ending the quarter with $564,437 cash on hand. In a blue state like New Mexico, it seems like Republicans didn’t put much effort in recruiting a strong candidate in the state. It’s hard for us to see the race as competitive anymore, especially given Luján’s consistent fundraising lead, so we’re moving the race from Likely D to Safe D.

US Senate Rating Changes

  1. AZ-SEN | Tilt D → Lean D
  2. NM-SEN | Likely D → Safe D

With these rating changes in the chamber, the US Senate is now teetering between Toss-Up and Tilt Republican territory. Before this update, the odds of a Republican majority were 57.5%, a Democrat majority 31.2%, and a tie at 11.3%. Now, the odds of a Republican majority are at 55.6%, a Democrat majority at 32.1%, and a tie at 12.3%.

In the US House, we have 16 rating changes, with 12 of them in the leftward direction and 4 in the rightward direction. These are all because of the fundraising reports we’ve reviewed a few weeks ago from Q1.

  1. CA-10 | Lean D → Likely D
  2. CA-45 | Likely D → Safe D
  3. CA-22 | Likely R → Safe R
  4. TX-02 | Likely R → Safe R
  5. TX-06 | Likely R → Safe R
  6. TX-21 | Lean R → Tilt R
  7. VA-07 | Tilt D → Lean D
  8. IA-01 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  9. IA-02 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  10. IL-13 | Lean R → Tilt R
  11. NC-09 | Likely R → Safe R
  12. NJ-03 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  13. NY-02 | Lean R → Tilt R
  14. NY-11 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  15. WA-08 | Lean D → Likely D
  16. WI-03 | Likely D → Safe D

These rating changes have moderately improved the odds of Democrats holding onto their majority in the US House. Before this update, the odds of a Democrat majority were at 82.6%, with the odds of a Republican majority at 17.4%. Now, the odds of a Democrat majority are at 86.4%, and a Republican majority at 13.6%. In other words, the US House is very close to entering Safe Democrat territory.

We are also changing one rating in our gubernatorial elections forecast, in North Carolina. Incumbent Democrat Governor Roy Cooper (D) is wallopping Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest in polling. Of the four polls conducted this month, Cooper had a +27, +17, +14 and +13 lead over Forest. The best poll for Forest conducted this year was at the beginning of March, showing Cooper up 8 points. With Cooper’s consistently strong polling, we’re moving the North Carolina gubernatorial election from Lean D to Likely D.

  1. NC-GOV | Lean D → Likely D

Of the 6 state legislative rating changes we have, 4 are in open seats we’ve recently identified (most thanks to candidate filing deadlines) where the loss of the incumbency advantage has made a seat more vulnerable for the incumbent’s party. 3 of these are in the leftward direction, 1 is in the rightward direction. None of these districts, however, are in competitive state legislative chambers.

  1. MA SD-Plymouth & Barnstable | Safe R → Toss-Up
  2. NV SD-05 | Lean D → Tilt D
  3. NV HD-02 | Lean R → Toss-Up
  4. NY AD-09 | Likely R → Lean R

We also have an unusual reason for a rating change in (the usually uncompetitive) New York’s 76th State Assembly district. The Democrat incumbent, Rebecca Seawright, has been booted off the ballot for not properly filing her paperwork. The most likely path for Seawright to hold her seat is a write-in campaign. She has not announced what her intentions are, though, so for the moment, we’re moving the seat from Safe D to Likely D. Once Seawright builds up a write-in campaign though, we’re likely to move the seat back into Safe D territory, as this Manhattan-based district is very, very blue.

  1. NY AD-76 | Safe D → Likely D

Our final state legislative district change is a result from the Ohio primaries last night, in suburban OH SD-16 in Franklin County, Ohio. Krystal Lett, the Democratic nominee, has posted strong fundraising numbers in her bid to flip this Hillary Clinton-carried seat which hasn’t been up since 2016. She will face off against Republican incumbent Stephanie Kunze this fall. Ryan Brune, an expert on Ohio elections, offers his analysis on the seat:

“Ohio’s 16th Senate District has really shifted left over the last couple cycles, voting Democratic by double digits in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Republicans lost pretty much everything in Franklin county that year and are going to struggle to prevent yet another loss this year.”

  1. OH SD-16 | Tilt R → Toss-Up