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Handicapping the House

IL14 is R+1, affluent, white, and has a frosh Dem. NY20 is slightly less affluent than IL14, but is R+2 and also represented by a brand new Democrat. PA10 is solidly middle class, R+8, and has a two-term Democrat -- the first Dem to hold the seat since 1961. Races like these will determine the next Speaker.

The next two groups help ease the GOP's money problem.

Four races -- AR01, FL08, FL24, and WA03 -- now all Lean GOP from Toss Up, accounting for the most recent of 206 seats predicted to go red by RCP.

Of those, AR01 is the most interesting, because a Republican hasn't held that seat since Reconstruction. Congressman Marion Berry is retiring, and his would-be successor, Chad Causey, is down in one poll by 16 points to Republican Rick Crawford. Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln -- set to lose in November by the widest margin of any sitting Senator, ever -- has, I think, completely spoiled the D label in her state. The party might take years to recover. If I were running the DCCC, I wouldn't waste one blue cent on Causey.

WA03 has been held by Brian Baird pretty comfortably since 1999, and the Left Coast ain't exactly red-friendly. So what's going on? Cook rates the Third's PVI dead even, and Baird was a big ObamaCare supporter. A YouTube video of a 2009 Town Hall, where Baird was taken to task by a disabled Marine, has been viewed 1.3 million times. His GOP opponent, Jaime Herrera, seems to be running a smart campaign in a close district. She's been moving up, up, up all summer long.

We have two races in Florida to look at. The 8th is 70% white, middle class, R+2, and has a freshman Dem. The 24th is 80% white, middle class, R+4, and has a freshman Dem. If Dan Webster and Craig Miller can't win their respective races, then the GOP might as well just shut down and turn over everything to the Tea Party. Not that I'm saying it shouldn't, anyway.

And finally, PA03, where Republican Mike Kelly moved from a Toss Up to Leans Dem -- our only jump to the left all week. This should be a cakewalk. Once again we have a Republican-leaning, middle-class district with an ObamaCare-lovin', card check-supportin' freshman Democrat. What happened? Dunno -- but Kelly's website is done up in green, so people might not even realize he's a Republican.

Get on that, Mike.

Two last thoughts. Democrats made big gains in 2006-08 in upstate New York, central Pennsylvania, and Appalachia. All of those areas are now trending red. NY and PA because of the economy and ObamaCare, and Appalachia because of those two issues, plus the nagging fear that the Democrats really will finally impose some sort of Cap & Tax scheme. And in the coming weeks, look for some surprises in Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, and maybe even a Michigan race or two.