This diary will lay out my race ratings for all 435 House of Representatives districts for the 2012 elections. This election cycle brings us the added bonus of being a redistricting cycle, so many house districts still have not been finalized, but where states have either completed redistricting or their draft maps are likely to be final I went ahead and added them to the map courtesy of jeffmd and the rest of the DKE crew using google maps. I also made a few assumptions about states such as New York where redistricting is up in the air which I will explain after the fold. Finally, I won't be providing analysis for all 435 races, but only the most competitive ones or where I think explanation is necessary.
This table should be pretty easy to follow; All 435 districts are presented as being either Safe, Likely, or Leans for one party (subjective) or a toss up. District names are color coded by the current party in control: Blue is Democratic, Red is Republican, Black is a new district from reapportionment, and Purple means that a Democratic and Republican incumbent are running here. Note: In New York I eliminated NY-09 (Bob Turner) and NY-23 (Ann Marie Buerkle) so all the districts move down a number after 8 and down 2 after 23.
After allotting all of the Leaning or stronger seats by party I came up with:
198 Democratic, 12 Toss Up, 225 Republican
I would predict that ultimately all of those 423 leaning or stronger seats would fall to the assigned party, except for WV-01 which I think Dems will pick up. After that I think that the following toss up seats will be won by Dems:
CA-21, CO-03, CO-06, FL-25, IL-13, TX-23, and WI-07
Republicans will win:
CA-52, NV-03, NC-11, OH-06, and OH-16
The net result will be that Democrats pick up 13 seats and fall 12 short of flipping the house.
First off, several states have not finalized redistricting, although I added a few to the map already. A couple of other states have released drafts which are almost certain to become law, but have not yet been added to DKE's google maps collection due to their recentness.
These states are: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
I have already added New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. Furthermore, I would have gone ahead with adding Arizona, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Tennessee if they were available in google maps yet because they are not likely to be changed from the current or draft maps, or at least their changes won't have significant partisan implications.
Going do the list:
In Arizona I'm assuming the Independent Redistricting Commission's map becomes finalized.
In Connecticut the Special Master is tasked by the state Supreme Court with drawing a least change map, which is unlikely to change the partisan makeup of the districts.
In Florida I based my ratings off of the initial State Senate draft which was previously reviewed on DKE. I realize this map could easily be struck down under the Fair Districting Amendment or potentially even the VRA (although unlikely), but for the time being I rated the districts as presented in this map.
In Kansas I imagine the Republicans, who control the trifecta, will want to shore up vulnerable freshman Rep. Kevin Yoder in the Obama-won 3rd district. The other 3 districts won't be at risk from doing so if they're remotely competent (or shameless).
In Kentucky I am assuming that an incumbent protection map will be drawn, which obviously explains why I listed all 6 districts as safe for the incumbent party.
In Minnesota I am assuming that the court-drawn map will not endanger either Tim Walz or Erik Paulsen, and that Chip Cravaack's district will be at least as Democratic if not more than currently.
In New Hampshire I am assuming a least change map since the deviation was 254 people between the 2 districts.
New Mexico's court-drawn map is practically the finalized map (the redistricting tracker says incomplete but that might be because potential appeals could still be filed).
New York was the toughest one because of the complex relationship Andrew Cuomo has with legislative Democrats. He has promised to veto any maps (which I hope comes to pass), but I am assuming that is a bargaining position for the time being. I assumed that NY Dems settle for a least changes map protecting a few of their incumbents while eliminating 2 Republicans, Bob Turner and Ann Marie Buerkle. Really though, I am uncertain of what will actually happen here, so this is the most tentative set of ratings.
In Rhode Island I assumed that the changes would involve shoring up David Cicilline slightly, but few large-scale changes.
In Tennessee I assumed the recently released draft map is fairly close to the final version.
In Texas I simply gave ratings for the San Antonio court's interim map because I don't know what the US Supreme Court will do, although I can't imagine drastic changes or them implementing the legislature's illegal maps.
In Virginia I'm assuming Republicans will be successful in drawing their own map that solidifies the current 8-3 delegation. I'm hoping the state Dems can force legal action to send the map to court, in which case the 4th district becomes safe Dem, but I won't hold my breath.
In Washington state I'm assuming that the bipartisan commission map that Tim Ceis stupidly agreed to will be the final outcome.
And finally, in West Virginia I'm assuming that the state leg will pass minor changes to correct the population deviation from the plan that the courts recently suspended. If by some miracle they actually pass something other than least change, then the 1st district will undoubtedly be made more competitive.
Individual District Analysis
In this section I'll review the 30 districts I rated as Lean D, Lean R, or Toss Up, but I'll be glad to discuss other seats in the comments.
AZ-01: This seat was recently vacated by incumbent Republican Paul Gosar. Former incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running again and has posted strong fundraising numbers. Coupled with the district shifting 4% to the left and this district should flip.
AZ-09: This district is a new seat in the Phoenix area that is roughly D+2 or so after accounting for McCain's home-state advantage. A solid Dem candidate like Kyrsten Sinema should be slightly favored to pick up this seat.
CA-07: Dan Lungren barely won in 2008 and was held to high single digits by well-funded opponent Ami Bera in 2010. Bera is seeking a rematch and has outraised the incumbent. The district also became a few points more Democratic and coupled with presidential turnout should give Bera the edge.
CA-26: This D+3 seat recently opened up when incumbent Elton Gallegly decided to retire. Republicans have strong candidates in Linda Parks and Tony Strickland, but the Dem lean and presidential turnout should give the eventual Dem nominee the advantage.
CA-31: This seat is being vacated by incumbent Joe Baca to run in the much safer 35th so it's technically a Dem held seat, but should be a Dem hold for the same reasons as the previous 2 seats.
CT-05: This seat is being vacated to Chris Murphy to replace Droopy the Dog in the Senate, but Dems have a strong, well-funded candidate in CT House Speaker Chris Donovan. Money + D+2 seat + Presidential turnout in a blue state = Dem Hold
IL-12: This open D+2 seat saw a surprising lack of prominent Democrats announce after incumbent Rep. Jerry Costello retired, but Republicans also failed to land a strong candidate. Nevertheless, likely Dem nominee Brad Harriman is decent enough and should be able to hold this seat for Team Blue with native son Obama at the top of the ticket.
MN-08: This traditionally Democratic seat was an upset pick up for incumbent Chip Cravaack when he won in 2008, but an improved electoral environment of 2012 and the district's strongly DFL lean should be enough to send him packing.
NH-02: Charlie Bass barely won in 2010 to well funded progressive Dem Ann Kuster who is seeking a rematch. She has been posting solid fundraising numbers and should be favored to win in this D+3 seat.
NM-01: Incumbent Rep. Martin Heinrich is vacating to run for Senate and Dems are either looking at nominating liberal Eric Griego or conservadem Marty Chavez. This district is D+5 by 2008 numbers and is trending Dem, so Dems should be favored to hold it in 2012 with increased Hispanic turnout.
NY-24: (Renumbered NY-26) Kathy Hochul scored an upset in early 2011 and has shown to be a strong campaigner. Assuming that her district moves a couple of points to the left after she should hold a narrow advantage in 2012.
NC-07: Conservadem Mike McIntyre has proven to be a very popular incumbent in his district, and even though it was made moderately more Republican after redistricting, his conservative record and profile should make him the favorite to beat state Sen. David Rouzer.
PA-12: This seat will see the Dem vs. Dem battle between incumbents Jason Altmire and Mark Critz before facing a competitive race against generic Republican in the fall. Altmire represents 2/3rds of the territory and should win the primary, which is good because he would be slightly stronger given his large crossover appeal anyway (although both their voting records are less than admirable).
UT-04: Dem incumbent Jim Matheson is one of the more conservative Dems in the house, but he has proven incredibly popular, even enough to overcome Utah's conservative lean. This mostly new district should allow Matheson to (re-?)entrench himself here, but would be a guaranteed Republican pick up if open.
WA-01: This district was where Tim Ceis really screwed us, but at about D+2 or so Dems should be slightly favored to hold it, especially against wacko tea partier John Koster. Hopefully Dems nominate Suzan DelBene who nearly knocked off Rep. Dave Reichert in the politically similar 8th in 2010 given her strong performance in such an unfavorable environment.
AR-01: This district is traditionally Dem, but moving away from the party and a particularly tough pick up with Obama being a drag at the top of the ticket. Nevertheless, Rick Crawford isn't a necessarily strong incumbent, but Dems can't beat him without a decent candidate.
AR-04: Mike Ross really screwed us by lobbying for his district to be weakened and then retiring, sending this seat zooming from safe D to lean R. This seat is fairly similar to the 1st, but the Republican candidate has been raising tons of money while Dems are struggling to find a 1st tier candidate.
CA-10: Jeff Denham's district became considerably more Democratic during redistricting but still leans slightly Republican. However, Dems landed a strong candidate here and Denham seems pretty poor at campaigning (he spent more on a $100k+ fundraiser than he took in... need I say more) so Dems could have a shot here.
FL-02: Rep. Steve Southerland was seriously hurt by the FL GOP state Senate draft which made his district less Republican. This seat is home to many Blue Dog type Democratic voters and Democrats have a solid bench, meaning Southerland is quite vulnerable.
GA-12: Conservadem John Barrow was royally screwed with during redistricting, seeing his district become ~10% more Republican. The only thing giving him a shot here is his strongly Blue Dog profile and history of crossover appeal, but Republicans can be guaranteed to go after him hard in this seat.
IN-02: Republicans made this district more conservative during redistricting, prompting Rep. Joe Donnelly to run for senate. Wacky Jackie Walorski, who nearly knocked off Donnelly in 2010 is running for the seat again, and while Dems have a decent candidate whose name escapes me, the lean of the seat plus the Obama campaigns likely abandonment of Indiana (compared to 2008 at least) mean this seat leans R.
IN-08: In a bit of surprising timidity by Republicans during this redistricting cycle, the 8th district was actually made about 1% more Democratic, and Dem nominee Dave Crooks should easily be competitive with Rep. Larry Buschon, but I'm not ready to call this a toss up yet given the red hue of the district.
IA-03: This seat combines the districts of 'moderate' Republican Tom Latham, and moderate Democrat Leonard Boswell, in a PVI-even seat. However, while Latham only represents a small fraction of the district and Boswell has represented much of it currently or previously, Latham has been absolutely crushing Boswell at fundraising. Boswell also has had close calls in 2006 of all years, which leads me to give a slight edge to Latham, although DCCC millions might save Boswell here.
IA-04: Raving lunatic Steve King saw his district become significantly more Democratic and is facing the very well funded former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. Hopefully Vilsack will be the first woman represented by Iowa in congress, but the district is still about R+4.
MI-01: Tea Partier Dan Benishek won by 15 votes in the 2010 primary, and this seat is traditionally Democratic and is only slightly more conservative than the nation by 2008 numbers. However this region has been moving away from Dems even as Michigan has been moving towards us, so Benishek has the slight edge over 2010 opponent Gary McDowell.
NH-01: Frank Guinta holds a fairly marginal but longtime Republican district and has a pretty decent fundraising record. Former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter was always a weak candidate and Dems will need a stronger campaigner than she to win the seat in 2012.
NJ-05: This is another seat where Dems got the shaft in redistricting. This seat was supposed to be a fair fight between incumbent Scott Garrett and Dem Rep. Steve Rothman, but it's pretty much Garrett's seat. At R+5, he should ultimately prevail, but Democrats have a good bench here so the race is competitive.
NY-12: (Renumbered NY-13) I'm assuming that Mike Grimm's district is about the same partisan wise or becomes slightly more Republican. Grimm could be facing a rematch against former Rep. Mike MacMahon, but regardless of his opponent this light red seat should be competitive. However this seat could change significantly in redistricting.
NY-18: (Renumbered NY-19) Nan Hayworth also holds a light red seat that I'm expecting to be about the same after redistricting, obviously the usual NY caveat applies though. She's made a number of blunders during her term, most notably during the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, so she remains vulnerable. So far Dems don't have any top tier candidates but that should hopefully change.
OH-07: Dems lost a good opportunity here when both former Reps John Bocieri and Zack Space declined to take on freshman Rep Bob Gibbs. However, Gibbs seat became slightly more Democratic and contains a fair number of labor Dems who allowed Zack Space to win for 2 terms. This one has the potential to move off the table if no strong Dem enters the race, but for now is somewhat competitive. Update: That apparently happened with the filing deadline now passed, so this one moves to Likely R.
OK-02: This was the only other seat where a retirement really screwed us. Popular conservadem Dan Boren could have held this seat for life, but opted for the greener pastures of, well, making more money probably. Anyway, this seat in eastern Oklahoma has long been a dixiecrat bastion but has moved sharply away from Dems over the last decade. Still, Dems have a solid bench here so it should remain competitive, but Obama will be a big drag on the ticket.
TX-14: This seat opened up when Rep. Ron Paul announced his retirement, and with the entry of former Rep. Nick Lampson, who has represented most of the district before, Democrats are looking at a decent pick up opportunity. This seat is unlikely to change in redistricting regardless of what happens in court, so expect Lampson to make a good showing.
WV-01: Republican David McKinley barely won in 2010 when this seat was open. Furthermore, this seat has a very long moderate/conservative Democratic tradition which means a deep bench of decent candidates. I expect this race to move towards Dems over the course of the cycle which is why it's the only currently Lean R race that I think we will flip.
CA-21: Redistricting made this seat more Republican, prompting incumbent Jim Costa to opt for the safer district next door in the 16th. Republicans have a good candidate in David Valadao, but Democrats also have a good potential candidate in former state Senate majority leader Dean Florez. I would expect that Florez has a narrow edge with the presidential election boosting Dem-leaning Hispanic turnout.
CA-52: Brian Bilbray's San Diego seat became slightly more Democratic and he struggled to win election in 2006 but cruised in 2008 and 2010. I ultimately expect this seat to remain Republican due to the long Republican-friendly nature of San Diego, but Dems have a decent shot here.
CO-03: Accidental winner Scott Tipton's district became slightly more Democratic and Tipton is a fairly weak incumbent. Dems recruited state house speaker Sal Pace who has put up pretty strong fundraising numbers so far, thus giving him a slight advantage.
CO-06: This suburban Denver seat changed dramatically during redistricting, moving from Safe R to a toss up D+1 seat that should trend our way over the decade. Still, Mike Coffman has a lot of money in his campaign account, but Dem candidate Joe Miklosi should be able to pull off the win.
FL-25: Florida Republicans really screwed David Rivera in redistricting by moving his seat from R+5 to about R+2 or R+1. Rivera has had a lot of ethical issues and has had pitiful fundraising. Still, this seat contains a large portion of the heavily Republican Cuban-American community in south Miami-Dade, so it will still be tough for the eventual Dem nominee who should ultimately flip this seat.
IL-13: Tim Johnson took one for Team Red when redistricting drastically changed his seat from a safe Republican one to a Dem leaning D+2. However, Johnson has a 'moderate' profile and has decent fundraising, but he only represents 1/4th of the new district. With Obama at the top of the ticket the Democratic nominee should be able to prevail if he can run a viable campaign.
NV-03: Joe Heck barely won in 2010 and his new seat is only slightly less Democratic. Unfortunately, likely Dem nominee John Oceguera has put up lackluster fundraising numbers while Heck has not, so for now I give Heck the slight advantage but this seat is about as pure of a toss up as there is.
NC-11: Consevadem Heath Shuler's seat was made several points more Republican after redistricting, and the only reason it is competitive is Shuler's strong crossover appeal. Republicans will pour a lot of resources into flipping this seat though, and Shuler so far hasn't kept up with fundraising, so I ultimately expect him to narrowly lose.
OH-06: This traditionally labor Dem seat allong the Ohio river saw Republican Bill Johnson upset 2 term Rep. Charlie Wilson. The seat was slightly shored up, but Wilson is seeking a rematch and should keep it competitive. I could really see this going either way, but for now Johnson should be slightly favored.
OH-16: This seat combines Dem Betty Sutton with Republican Jim Renacci in a Republican leaning seat. Sutton has done well in all 3 of her election campaigns and really took one for the team here. This seat is another pure toss up, but if forced to choose I think the red lean of the seat allows Renacci to win.
TX-23: I almost want to put this as Lean D given the drastic difference presidential turnout has on the Dem-friendly Hispanic electorate here. Still, this seat didn't get any more Democratic under the interim map, but Dems have a very strong candidate in Eric Gallego, who I expect to win in the end.
WI-07: The only reason this isn't Lean D is that Republicans gerrymandered it to become slightly more Republican friendly. Freshman Rep. Sean Duffy has been a gaffe machine, suggesting that his $174,000 salary as a congressman made it hard to pay the bills, among others. This seat has a 40 year history of voting Democratic and should hopefully return to the fold in 2012.
Whew, that's the last of the competitive seats. So to summarize, Dems have 198 seats favoring them and Republicans have 225 favoring them. I expect Democrats to net only 13 seats on election day, falling short by 12.
I'll be glad to discuss my ratings in the comments, but again I'd rather not quibble over whether a seat should be safe or likely favoring one party. Also, redistricting in Texas, New York, and Florida is still pretty up in the air, so my ratings were totally contingent on the assumptions I made on those maps.
I'll do an update in a few weeks and in the meantime I should have a diary on my Senate ratings.