The Cook Political Report has moved 12 more Republican held seats into toss up category, which makes 18 Republican seats up for grabs. This gives Democrats a chance to retake the House.
The Cook Report changed their ratings on 15 House seats. 12 Republican seats were moved into the toss up category, and three Democratic seats moved solidly towards the incumbents.
This change gives Democrats a chance to take back the House in 2014.
The Cook Report explained that Democrats shouldn’t be buying Nancy Pelosi a new gavel yet, but the opening is there,
Even after our 15 ratings changes today, there are only 18 GOP-held seats in Lean Republican, Toss Up, or Lean Democratic. In other words, Democrats would not only have to hold all of their own seats (including 10 races in Toss Up), but “run the table” on vulnerable GOP seats in order to win a majority.
If damage to the GOP proves long-lasting, we could expect to see more previously “safe” GOP seats move into competitive categories, and previously competitive contests lean towards Democrats. We could also expect fortunes of vulnerable Democrats to improve. Continued Republican self-harm could indeed threaten their 17-seat majority. But, Democrats still have a long way to go.
In the interim, we are shifting our House Topline from a Republican gain of two to seven seats to a minimal net change of up to five seats in either party’s direction, with larger Democratic gains possible if Republicans continue to pursue unpopular and self-destructive strategies.
Everyone assumed that the best Democrats could do in 2014 was gain some seats in the House. Based on the data in each district, the conventional wisdom was that House Republicans would have to do something really stupid to put their majority in jeopardy.
Stupid arrived for Democrats in the form of Ted Cruz.
The government shutdown may be over. The debt ceiling has been raised, but the House Republican margin for error as we head into 2014 is zero. Another government shutdown or default risk, could make a Democratic retaking of the House more and more likely.
Democrats have gone from a slim chance to a chance to win back control of the House of Representatives. It won’t be easy for Democrats to pull this off, but it is clear Republicans have gravely damaged themselves with their recent behavior. Republicans have gone from eyeing up taking the Senate to possibly having to fight to defend the House.
One more fit of self destructive insanity could push the return of Speaker Pelosi closer to being a done deal.