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Well, I've finally gotten around to doing race ratings for the 2012 cycle. I have a nice big spreadsheet up on my computer, but since the vast majority of races aren't competitive, I will share with you some of the more competitive races right now as I see them.

If you have any questions about any other race as I see it, just let me know in comments and I'll provide my assessment.

As an obligatory note, all of these ratings are highly subject to change. It's still seven months to Election Day, after all.


I project Republicans will hold the House with 222 seats. I project Democrats will win 196 seats. I do consider 16 races as pure Tossups at this time and I will not project victors there one way or the other.

The 16 pure Tossups are:

CA-10 - Rep. Jeff Denham (R)
CA-21 - no incumbent
CA-52 - Rep. Brian Bilbray (R)
FL-09 - no incumbent
FL-18 - Rep. Allen West (R)
GA-12 - Rep. John Barrow (D)
IA-03 - Reps. Tom Latham (R) and Leonard Boswell (D)
IL-13 - no incumbent; retirement of Rep. Tim Johnson (R)
IL-17 - Rep. Bobby Schilling (R)
IN-02 - no incumbent; retirement of Rep. Joe Donnelly (D)
MI-01 - Rep. Dan Benishek (R)
NC-07 - Rep. Mike McIntyre (D)
NY-11 - Rep. Michael Grimm (R)
OH-16 - Reps. Jim Renacci (R) and Betty Sutton (D)
PA-12 - Reps. Mark Critz (D) and Jason Altmire (D)
RI-01 - Rep. David Cicilline (D)

I count 12 Tossup/Tilt D races at this time:

AZ-01 - no incumbent
CA-07 - Rep. Dan Lungren (R)
CA-26 - no incumbent; retirement of Rep. Elton Gallegly (R)
CA-31 - Rep. Gary Miller (R)
IL-12 - no incumbent; retirement of Rep. Jerry Costello (D)
MA-06 - Rep. John Tierney (D)
MN-08 - Rep. Chip Cravaack (R)
NV-03 - Rep. Joe Heck (R)
NY-18 - Rep. Nan Hayworth (R)
TX-23 - Rep. Francisco Canseco (R)
UT-04 - Rep. Jim Matheson
WA-01 - no incumbent; resignation of Rep. Jay Inslee (D)

I also count 7 Tossup/Tilt R races right now:

CO-06 - Rep. Mike Coffman (R)
FL-13 - Rep. Bill Young (R)
IA-04 - Rep. Steve King (R)
NE-02 - Rep. Lee Terry (R)
NJ-03 - Rep. Jon Runyan (R)
OH-06 - Rep. Bob Johnson (R)
PA-08 - Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)

The only races not yet rated are Kansas, because the state has not completed its redistricting process. I expect all to be Republican-favoring and I have included them in my expected Republican total.

A number of these races are subject to dramatic change with certain nominees. For instead, nominating Gwen Howard in NE-02 would likely lead me to move the race to Lean R. If Suzan DelBene advances to the November ballot in WA-01, I will probably move the race to Lean D or even to Likely D. If Alan Grayson is not our nominee in FL-09, I think that race is at least Lean D, as it probably is if Osceola County Commission President John Quiñones is not the Republican nominee there. If Ilario Pantano is not the Republican nominee in NC-07, that race probably moves to Tossup/Tilt R or Lean R. If Cicilline is not renominated in RI-01, the race probably becomes Likely D.

Similarly, there are races that are not listed as Tossups of any kind now that would probably move to that category with an unexpected nominee. If Republicans reject Matt Doheny in NY-21, that race may become a Tossup or Tossup/Tilt D. If a strong candidate like Joe Garcia enters the race in FL-26, that race likely moves to Tossup/Tilt D. If Ron Barber is not our nominee in AZ-02, that race may move to Tossup/Tilt D.


However, I do expect Democrats to retain the Senate. I have projected 51 seats for them, including the Maine seat I project as safe for Angus King (I) and thus as Lean D based on my assessment of his political preferences and my current assessment of Democrats' likelihood to hold at least 50 Senate seats as well as the White House, to 47 projected for Republicans after this cycle, with 2 pure Tossups.

The 2 pure Tossup races are:

Nevada - Sen. Dean Heller (R)
Virginia - no incumbent; retirement of Sen. Jim Webb (D)

I have 3 Tossup/Tilt D races listed:

Massachusetts - Sen. Scott Brown (R)
Missouri - Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)
Wisconsin - no incumbent; retirement of Sen. Herb Kohl (D)

I also have 2 Tossup/Tilt R races:

Montana - Sen. Jon Tester (D)
North Dakota - no incumbent; retirement of Sen. Kent Conrad (D)

As with the House ratings, these are subject to change not just due to shifting dynamics, but because the nominees are known for certain in just a few of them. And in primaries that are contested as anything but a formality, it could make a big difference; Indiana would probably become Tossup/Tilt R or even Tossup if Sen. Richard Lugar loses the Republican primary. If Tommy Thompson is not the Republican nominee in Wisconsin, the race probably shifts to Lean D.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 08:42:14 PM PDT

  •  Are you assuming CA-41 (the new one) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will go D? I am, but have not been following closely yet.

  •  How is PA-12 a tossup? (0+ / 0-)

    You might as well have CA-31 as a tossup too, even though it's a sure thing the seat will stay D. Or am I reading this wrong?

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 09:15:32 PM PDT

  •  I'm a Dem candidate in CA52, in 2nd place in polls (16+ / 0-)

    Hi- thanks for your analysis and discussion.

    I'm Lori Saldaña, candidate for Congress in the 52nd in CA. I want to respond to the "Pure toss-up" rating for this district with some local details that are not as easy to see from a distance:

    Before running for Congress, I served at the State level, as a fulltime Assemblywoman for 6 years, including as Speaker Pro Tempore and Chair of the Women's Caucus- the largest and only bipartisan caucus in the State Legislature.

    There are 10 candidates in this primary, and acc to independent polls, I am currently leading all 8 challengers- I'm in 2nd place vs. the incumbent. I lead all others in the polling by nearly 10 pts.  

    I'm the only person of color in this race, and of the two women running, I am the only one with prior elected experience.

    The 52nd voter reg is evenly divided between 34% Republicans, 33% Democrats and 30% Decline to State (DTS) with a smattering of Greens etc. It is very similar to my Assembly district in this regard, and I have represented about 45% of this district.

    In a coastal area with very high education levels such as San Diego, DTS voters tend to lean progressive.

    The 52nd is a highly educated, professional and environmental leaning community that I represented for 6 years in the state legislature. In my final election I received the most votes of any Assemblymember running for election in the history of the county- over 113,000 votes, with about 440,000 constituents.

    I have  strong appeal among DTS and Republican women. As I personally walk precincts, I am getting support from across the political spectrum. Latino and Asian-American registration is about the same (15-18%), and these are educated, professional populations that want immigration reform that actually works.

    This is also a socially progressive district. In 2008, 52nd CD Voters defeated Prop. 8 (an anti-Marriage Equality state ballot measure) by 6 points, and the 52nd was the only district in San Diego to do so.

    Pres. Obama was elected with a 14 pt. advantage in this district in 2008.

    There are 20,000 more women registered to vote than men, and given the events of this year, there is a very strong chance these women will favor a woman candidate.

    I hope this helps with your analysis.

    For more on my race please visit:  

    •  Thanks for commenting (6+ / 0-)

      I've been keeping an eye on your race, and I do think you would be our strongest candidate. Should your polling bear out and you advance to the general ballot, barring another change in events, I will probably move the race at least to Tossup/Tilt D.

      Now, I will note that while then-Sen. Obama did very well in your district and Proposition 8 did not, CA-52 was not a good district for Sen. Boxer or then-Atty. Gen. Brown; both lost there while winning convincingly statewide. Our cheat sheet also has Obama's victory at closer to 12 points than 14, putting it a bit to the left of MD-06, another district with a Republican incumbent who was put at a disadvantage by redistricting; I tentatively have MD-06 at Lean D.

      At any rate, I wish you all the best in the primary and, knock on wood, in the general. And thank you again for stopping by to share your thoughts. I would encourage everyone here to consider contributing to the Saldaña for Congress campaign, as this really is a must-win district to end Speaker Boehner's disastrous reign.

      Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

      by SaoMagnifico on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 10:12:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sean Duffy? Joe Walsh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do you see either of them retaining their seats?

    They have both been absolute, freaking disasters.  

  •  FL-09 (0+ / 0-)

    is currently held by Gus Bilirakis, a Republican incumbent.  His father Mike held the seat for many years prior.  FL-09 is in the Tampa Bay area.  If Grayson runs, it will be in one of the Orlando area districts, not a Tampa district.

    Bilirakis will hold FL-09 for the Republicans.  As of yet, there is no viable Dem candidate running against him.

    How can you be a Progressive but oppose progress?

    by donnamarie on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:48:22 AM PDT

  •  comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, hankmeister

    Re your house tossups, for now I have the GOP favored in CA10, CA52, GA12, and IN2. I think Dems would be favored in FL18, PA12, RI1, and especially IL17 which was made a 60% Obama district. I think Bustos wins easily unless she turns out to be a total stiff.

    On the tilt Ds, CA31 is lean D if not likely D. Gary Miller is a terrible fit for a district that even Boxer won, and hasn't even represented much of it. I also think AZ1 is lean D with Kirkpatrick. I might have NV3, NY18, and TX23 as pure tossups, though.

    Tilt Rs look ok although Young might be lean R.

    I agree with the poster above that WI7 should probably be in there, and maybe WI8 as well. I think MI7 goes to at least tilt D if Schwarz gets in, and MI3 might go into the tossup range if Pestka catches on. I would also put AZ9 at tilt D for now, maybe lean D if Cherny wins but I'm not sure he can get past Sinema.

    SSP poster. 42, CA-5, -0.25/-3.90

    by sacman701 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 07:28:50 AM PDT

  •  Tilts R for me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Heller and Brown. At least for now. Tilts D for Kaine since he tends to lead more often than Allen. Probably the same for McCaskill but I'm on the brink of moving that to the GOP column with one more poll of the kind we've been seeing. Leans R in ND absent polling I think but clearly that is the cycle sleeper. Likely D in ME because King is not going to caucus with the GOP despite what he says. Agree on WI even if Thompson pulls it out.

    "There are a lot of reasons not to elect me." Mitt Romney (R-All Over The Map)

    by conspiracy on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 07:58:01 AM PDT

  •  CA-21 (0+ / 0-)

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that CA-21 is tilt-R district.
     The electorate doesn't know any of the the D candidates. The R candidate is pretty well known in the district as a sitting state Assemblyman. It is going to take a massive GOTV effort to bring in this seat.

    ex-SSP. What would Machiavelli do?

    by hankmeister on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:51:43 PM PDT

    •  The district also has a slight Democratic edge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hankmeister, MichaelNY

      Xiong also has DCCC backing and the endorsement of Rep. Costa, whose old district is almost 80% of this district's territory.

      Besides, after 2010, I'm pretty bearish on the organizational capabilities of the California Republican Party. They laid a big fat goose egg with better recruits than Valadao during the Great Bloodletting.

      Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

      by SaoMagnifico on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:59:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Sao - good work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Whitty

    I think I honestly agree with your tentative rating on all the House races at this time, although I think on Senate that I'd put Nevada and Virginia (the latter for sure) as Tossup/Tilt-D

  •  I definitely think you're too optimstic on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, IllinoyedR, Whitty

    Bill Young.

    However, Gary Miller's seat is Lean D.  It's an open 60% or so Obama seat; Miller has no territory overlap so he's not really an incumbent.

    19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at

    by jncca on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:15:15 PM PDT

    •  also (4+ / 0-)

      IL-17 was, I'm pretty confident, a Kerry district, and not just by 0.1 or 0.2%.  

      Bustos won't lack money (EMILY's List, although I would've liked to see her face a tougher primary to prepare her for a tough general), and Schilling's no moderate.

      Non-moderates don't survive in Kerry districts, especially with Obama atop the ballot.

      19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at

      by jncca on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 05:23:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think Jessica Ehrlich is a great candidate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades, MichaelNY, CF of Aus, Whitty

      Rep. Bill Young is 80 years old, too. Against a beautiful young (38 years old, anyway) woman from St. Petersburg, solid margins in which are critical to Democratic fortunes in the area, who has a bipartisan record, he's going to have to work really hard to hold an Obama/Sink district. I view this one as a sleeper a la ND-Sen.

      You could be right on CA-31. That was one of the toughest ratings to assign.

      Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

      by SaoMagnifico on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 05:40:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm extremely confident on CA-31 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Miller actually probably would underperform Generic R.

        He's corrupt, and he has a problem with his own party (under 50% in last year's primary).  

        In non wave years, 40 year incumbents don't lose in swing districts.  That's just one of the things that doesn't happen.  And your predictions seem to be for a relatively neutral year (which I expect as well)

        The closest equivalent recently was Hal Volkmer, but he had a redder district and had a close call two years prior.

        Young hasn't had any close calls.

        19, D, new CA-18 (home) new CA-13 (college). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. -.5.38, -3.23 Check out my blog at

        by jncca on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:12:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Young is probably there until he retires. (0+ / 0-)

        Like Frank Wolf.

        I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:52:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  think CA-31 is only 56% Obama or so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but Aguilar definitely has the advantage.

      22, male, RI-01 (voting) IL-01 (college), hopeless Swingnut

      by sapelcovits on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:52:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NY-19 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where is NY-19 in your rankings? (Gibson's seat)

  •  NV-03 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Out of curiosity, why do you think Heck is going to lose? That's pretty inconsistent with Cook, Sabato, et. al.

  •  IN-02 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It seems quite a few of the knowledgeable Hoosiers here have been relatively pessimistic about this seat.

    All the usual Republican leaning websites Cook, Sabato etc always have this seat Likely R.  

    I have it as a Toss-Up on my spreadsheet also - based on the Obama numbers and Brendan Mullen.  But there is always a lot of negativity about this seat

    Interested to know how you also arrived at Toss-Up rather than Likely R that others have it as.

    Do you have AZ-01 and AZ-02 as Lean Dem ?

    Other than that you seem a bit too optimistic on John Barrow... I would have thought they did a pretty good job of gerrymandering him out, even with presidential year turnout.

    And I agree with the above Cheri Bustos deserves Lean Dem !

    Australian. Democrat in spirit. 30 years old.

    by CF of Aus on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 05:39:25 AM PDT

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