The Cook Political Report, a renowned nonpartisan election forecaster, shifted its projections of nine House races in favor of Democrats Friday, days after political novice Conor Lamb bested his Republican challenger in the special election to represent a Pennsylvania district President Trump carried by 20 points against Hillary Clinton.
Among the notable ratings changes were three races affected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent move to redraw the state’s congressional districts, ostensibly as a counterweight to the effects of partisan gerrymandering. Seats held by Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick and Keith Rothfus both shifted from “lean Republican” to “toss-up.” The new map is expected to go into effect for the midterms despite an ongoing Republican legal challenge.
Lamb’s apparent narrow victory over Republican Rick Saccone in pro-Trump territory has prompted speculation that his campaign might serve as a blueprint for other Democrats running in similar districts. The 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran ran as a pro-Second Amendment centrist and explicitly denounced Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, stating unequivocally that he wouldn’t vote for her to retain her post atop the House Democratic caucus.
Pennsylvania’s 18th district, where Lamb won, will be eliminated under the new map. As a result, Lamb is expected to challenge Rothfus in the 17th district in November.