What a difference two years makes. At this point in 2010, as the GOP wave began to build, political handicappers and political operatives alike were trying to keep up with the number of newly competitive races moving onto the rapidly expanding House battleground. The same was true at this time in 2006 and 2008, when we were attempting to size up the coming Democratic waves.
Fast-forward two years, and a month before Election Day we are taking House races off the board, as it becomes clear to both parties that contests they hoped to put in play just haven’t materialized this cycle. We expect there may be a few less competitive races that begin to move in the competitive direction, but that hasn’t happened to a large extent at this point.
There is other significant movement in a handful of House races that we now rate as more likely than not to switch hands. GOP Reps. David Rivera (Fla.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) are in races that look to be increasingly uphill. Both face rematches from 2010 (although Rivera’s troubles have much more to do with his own ethics problems than the strength of his Democratic challenger).
In Senate race moves, we are moving two Democratic-held seats virtually off the board. Republicans always knew that Hawaii was going to be a tough race considering the overwhelming Democratic tilt of the state. But former Gov. Linda Lingle was the best possible candidate they could have gotten. However, it’s clear that the race really never got off the ground. Lingle would have had to run a flawless campaign AND Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) needed to stumble. Neither happened, and the race is now off the board. Full story