The good news for Republicans is that the bottom hasn’t fallen out from underneath their down-ballot candidates. The bad news is that there are still nearly three weeks left before Election Day, and 24 hours in each day for Donald Trump to torpedo the party’s chances of holding the House.
District-level polling after the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video and the second debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton showed some vulnerability for Republicans, particularly in suburban districts. But we didn’t see a widespread cratering of GOP candidates in the competitive districts or evidence that the number of competitive seats is increasing dramatically.
Democrats need one of those two scenarios to develop in order to gain the 30 seats necessary to regain the House majority. As it stands today, Republicans have 215 seats rated as safe by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. That means the GOP needs to win just three of the 38 races listed in a competitive category in order to retain control.
There’s still time for Democratic ads connecting Trump to GOP candidates to persuade voters. But if the past couple of months are a guide, it won’t be enough to get more than modest gains. The Democrats’ best shot at the House could be for Trump to command his supporters to stay home and not participate in a “rigged” election.
For now, five races shift toward the Democrats:
- Arizona’s 1st District (Open; Ann Kirkpatrick, D) from Tilts Democrat to Leans Democratic
- Kansas’ 3rd District (Kevin Yoder, R) from Safe Republican to Republican Favored
- Montana’s at-large district (Ryan Zinke, R) from Safe Republican to Republican Favored
- New York’s 3rd District (Open; Steve Israel, D) From Tilts Democrat to Leans Democratic
- Virginia’s 10th District (Barbara Comstock, R) from Leans Republican to Tilts Republican
One race shifted toward the Republicans:
You can get more analysis on these races and public polling in dozens of the most competitive House districts in the Oct. 14 issue of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.