CNN Key Races: Six races move toward Democrats as battle for control of the House enters the home stretch

Posted at 6:01 AM, Nov 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-04 09:22:13-05

The first $5 billion election is almost in the books.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are voicing confidence the party “will” take back control of the chamber.

My colleague Harry Enten said it best: The fundamentals of the midterm elections haven’t changed.

The generic ballot advantage, enthusiasm edge and President Trump’s underwater approval rating are facts that all work in the Democrats’ favor. Mix in the staggering fundraising numbers seen this cycle and it adds up to an environment ripe for strong Democratic gains.

In the final update to CNN’s Key Race ratings, we are moving six contests — all in favor of the Democrats.

Heading into Election Day — now just three days away — 15 seats held or vacated by Republicans are leaning, likely or solid for Democrats. Winning all of those races would put Democrats eight seats shy of the 23 the party needs to gain to win control of the House.

Of the 31 races CNN now rates as Tossups, only one is currently held by Democrats. If Democrats win a third of those, then they’ll find themselves in the majority with a couple seats to spare. Republicans are favored to pick up two Democratic-held seats, which would add to the challenge for Democrats on Election Night.

To the races:

FL-06: Democrat Nancy Soderberg, a former ambassador and National Security Council official, has outraised Republican Michael Waltz, an Army veteran and small business owner in the race to replace former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor. Trump won this Daytona Beach district by 16 points. The vast majority of the roughly $3.7 million being spent on TV in this district in the final week is coming from Soderberg and her allies — including $2.4 million from Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC.

Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican

GA-07: This is another contest where Democrats hold a significant resource advantage. Four-term GOP Rep. Rob Woodall hasn’t run any TV ads, based on data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG. His Democratic challenger, Carolyn Bourdeaux, has spent about $150,000 — and has been backed in the final weeks with nearly $1 million from Independence USA PAC. Trump won this majority-minority district in the Atlanta suburbs with 51% — down from Mitt Romney’s 60% in 2012.

Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican

KS-03: Democrat Sharice Davids appears poised to flip this suburban Kansas City district that went narrowly for Clinton two years ago. The National Republican Congressional Committee last month canceled $1 million in planned TV spending to support GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder, though the Congressional Leadership Fund has remained engaged in the race. Overall spending in the final week favors Democrats, with Davids outpacing Yoder $445,000 to $364,000 head-to-head, while Independence USA PAC, the DCCC and House Majority PAC combined are chipping in more than $600,000 to benefit the Democratic challenger.

Race moves from Toss-Up to Lean Democratic

SC-01: The National Republican Congressional Committee invested in this race late, looking to avoid a surprise upset in a district Trump won by 14 points. Democrat Joe Cunningham, an engineer and attorney, has outraised Republican Katie Arrington, and spent three times more on TV. Cunningham has tried to make Arrington’s shifting stances on offshore drilling a key issue in this Lowcountry district.

Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican

TX-32: This race between GOP Rep. Pete Sessions and Democrat Colin Allred is expected to draw nearly $5 million in TV ads in the last week of the campaign, per Kantar Media/CMAG. Part of that is a late $1.4 million infusion from Independence USA PAC aimed at lifting Allred. This suburban Dallas district backed Clinton by two points after giving Mitt Romney a 15-point victory in 2012.

Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up

UT-04: GOP Rep. Mia Love won her 2014 race by four points in a good year for Republicans. This year she’s facing a strong challenge from Democrat Ben McAdams, the mayor of Salt Lake County, which accounts for roughly 85% of the district. A New York Times/Siena poll found McAdams and Love deadlocked at 45% a piece. While McAdams has outspent Love on TV, the GOP incumbent has been backed by more than $1 million in ads from CLF.

Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up