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Ratings Change: 3 House Races Move Out of Safe

Seats in Florida, Indiana, Minnesota becoming more competitive

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minnesota, still has the advantage, but his race is getting tighter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minnesota, still has the advantage, but his race is getting tighter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the eve of the conventions, with Republicans poised to nominate reality show celebrity Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, we’re still waiting for the bottom to drop out of the election for the GOP and jeopardize dozens of House seats.

Thus far, the universe of House battleground districts has been fairly static. Democrats claim they are adding seats to the competitive map, but many of those are districts they haven’t contested in years and finally have a warm body to run in.

But there is enough evidence in Minnesota’s 3rd District and Indiana’s 9th District to change The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating from Safe Republican to Republican Favored.

[Roll Call’s 2016 Election Guide]

In Minnesota, Democrats are ecstatic over their recent recruit, state Sen. Terri Bonoff, and Trump is tanking in the Minneapolis suburbs. But GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen had a more than $2 million cash advantage at the end of June. With his moderate reputation, the congressman still has the advantage but Republicans may have to spend money to defend his seat.

Trump may actually do well in Indiana’s 9th but Republicans nominated Trey Hollingsworth, who only recently moved to the state from Tennessee and won the GOP primary by massively outspending his opponents.

[‘Who is This Trey Guy?’ Indiana’s 9th District Asks]

The Democratic nominee is Shelli Yoder, a Monroe County commissioner and former Miss Indiana who will be a contrast to Hollingsworth. Yoder is a credible enough candidate and there is enough volatility up and down the ballot and in the district to move this out of Safe Republican to Republican Favored.

Down in Florida, Democrats looked all-but-certain to pick up the 13th District, which GOP Rep. David Jolly left to run for the Senate. Courts forced the state legislature to redraw the seat (and made it more Democratic). Democrats will nominate former Republican governor/independent Senate candidate/2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist, who performed well in this, his home area, even in his statewide losses.

[House GOP to Jolly: We’re Not Sure We Want You Back]

Now Jolly is running for re-election after dropping out of the Senate race and two public polls, one from each side, show a very competitive race. The congressman will struggle to raise money after demonizing the National Republican Congressional Committee for common fundraising practices.

But House Majority PAC, the go-to outside group for Democrats interested in House races, has reserved time in the district and Democrats can’t take it for granted. Move this seat from Safe Democratic to Democrat Favored.

For analysis on over 90 House districts, check out the July 14 issue of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.


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