Multiple Dem-Held Seats Just Became More Competitive

Multiple Dem-Held Seats Just Became More Competitive

The latest congressional district ratings released Thursday by The Cook Political Report now have ’s 7th Congressional District ranked as a “toss-up” — its most competitive category.

And it’s not the only one.

The Seventh District is one of eight races from across the country that Cook’s prognosticators consider increasingly favorable for Republicans. It’s also one of 27 U.S. House seats held by Democrats that fall into its “Toss-Up,” “Lean Republican” and “Likely Republican” categories.

Republicans only need a net gain of five seats to reclaim their majority in the House.

These additional rating changes are another indicator of how bad this year looks for Democrats. Thirty-one of their incumbents will not be seeking reelection this year, opting to retire or seek another office.

The latest rating changes include:

  • Indiana’s First District (Chicago’s eastern, working-class suburbs)
  • Nevada’s Third and Fourth districts (both of which include parts of Las Vegas and its surrounding suburbs)
  • New Jersey’s Third District (which Democrats recently gerrymandered in the hopes of guaranteeing Rep. Andy Kim’s reelection)
  • New York’s Fourth District (suburban Long Island)
  • New York’s 19th District (the Catskills and part of the Albany metropolitan area)
  • North Carolina’s First District (Rock Mount, Greenville)

Two Virginia seats currently grace Cook’s “Toss-Up” category, now that the Seventh District has joined the Second in that ultra-competitive category.

The diversity of these districts reveals a troubling nationwide trend for Democrats. President Biden’s plummeting approval rating threatens the standing of their incumbents, not only with white voters but also with Reagan Democrats, Hispanics and a growing number of Black voters in states like North Carolina.

With President Biden’s approval rating barely above 40%, according to the RealClearPolitics average, no congressional district the president won by single districts can be considered safe.

Even worse, a recent poll by Quinnipiac showed Biden with a 33% approval rating. If those numbers are accurate, then even some seats Biden won by double-digits are endangered.

Virginia’s Seventh is a key bellwether district and one that Republicans are anxious to retake in the fall. Its suburban and exurban voters favored Donald Trump in 2016, Joe Biden in 2020 and Glenn Youngkin in 2021.

Current Representative Abigail Spanberger (D) was elected to the seat in 2018 and reelected in 2020 when she garnered 50.9% of the vote. Her opponent, Republican Nick Freitas, received 49.1% of the total votes cast.

Previously, the seat was held by Eric Cantor and Dave Brat. Spanberger is the first and only Democrat to represent the district in the 21st century, although this year’s redistricting process has made the seat more favorable to Democrats, with a partisan lean of D+2.

The new boundaries of the district include parts of Stafford County and the City of Fredricksburg, which make up Virginia’s 28th State House District. This district was one that flipped last fall from being represented by Democrat Joshua Cole to now being represented by Republican Tara Durant. Durant won the seat with 50.9% of the vote, while Cole received 48.9%.

Stafford County also saw one of the largest swings towards Republicans of anywhere in the state in the 2021 gubernatorial election. According to Reuters, the county voted for Youngkin by “11 percentage points, a sharp reversal from Biden’s 3-point win.”

Before Republicans have a chance to flip the seat in November, they will first choose a nominee out of a vast field of seven primary candidates. One of the first candidate forums of the primary season was held Thursday evening at the Electric Palm Restaurant in Woodbridge, hosted by the Republican Women of Virginia.

Virginia’s Republican primary will be held on June 21st.

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