Ratings Change: 9 House Races Shift in Final Days

As Trump closes in on Clinton, some Democratic House targets fade away

Democrats have invested plenty of time and money into defeating vulnerable Republicans including Florida Rep. John L. Mica. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Democrats have invested plenty of time and money into defeating vulnerable Republicans including Florida Rep. John L. Mica. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:19am

A Democratic majority in the House has always been a stretch. But now that Donald Trump is closing in on Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, Democratic hopes of making Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House once again have all but evaporated.

There is no question House Republicans have vulnerabilities and will lose seats, they just won’t lose the 30 that Democrats need for a majority, even with Trump’s volatility at the top of the ticket.

[Roll Call’s 2016 Election Guide: House]

About a dozen races look like they are within the margin of error, but there isn’t any evidence to suggest they will break disproportionately toward the Democrats. The party looks likely to gain eight to 13 seats.

The good news for Democrats is that they look poised to knock off a couple of GOP incumbents that they have invested plenty of time and money into defeating including John L. Mica in Florida’s 7th District and Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s 5th District.

Both races have moved steadily toward their side and this week we’re changing the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating from Tossup to Tilts Democrat.

We’re also downgrading GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s chances of getting re-elected in California’s 49th District from Leans Republican to Tilts Republican.

The bad news for Democrats is that a handful of takeover opportunities appear to be slipping away from them as Trump closes the gap with Clinton in the presidential race.

In addition, DFL Rep. Rick Nolan is having a tough time fending off Republican Stewart Mills in Minnesota’s 8th District in a rematch from 2014. Trump is likely to win the seat in the presidential race, throwing a wrench into the congressman’s challenge. My colleague Simone Pathé was recently in the district. You can read her story here.

Even though there was a public poll which had Mills leading Nolan, private data show the congressman still has an edge. We’re changing our rating from Democrat Favored to Leans Democratic.

You can get more analysis on these races and public polling in dozens of the most competitive House districts in the Nov. 3 issue of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.