Election handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted 10 House races toward Democrats on Thursday, including the election involving recently indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).
The handicapper moved Hunter’s race in California’s 50th Congressional District from a “safe Republican” seat to “leans Republican.”
The Department of Justice alleged in an indictment Tuesday against Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, that the GOP congressman used campaign funds to purchase trips to Italy and Hawaii, pay for his family’s dental work, his children’s tuition and international travel for nearly a dozen relatives.
Elsewhere on the map, the Crystal Ball moved races involving Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Pete Olson (R-Texas) from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican.” The forecaster did the same with an open seat in Texas’s 2nd Congressional District.
Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) had their races shifted from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican.”
A trio of seats moved from “leans Republican” to “toss-up,” including Rep. Tom MacArthur’s (R-N.J.) race. The other seats moved into the category include Washington’s 8th District and North Carolina’s 9th District.
Republicans are seeking to stave off a Democratic push to retake control of the House and Senate in November. A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Democrats with a 6.6 point lead over Republicans in the generic congressional ballot.
Sabato’s managing editor Kyle Kondik said Democrats stand to solidify their favored status following developments this week involving former Trump associates Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
“Previous developments related to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 campaign and Russian involvement really haven’t,” Kondik wrote. “But it would be wrong to look at what happened earlier this week and argue that the Cohen/Manafort news doesn’t mean anything to the battle for the House.”
Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he made at the direction of a candidate for federal office. His statement implicated President Trump without naming him specifically.
Manafort was convicted on eight charges of bank fraud and tax fraud, while the judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.