Kirkpatrick’s Decision Prompts Ratings Changes in Two Arizona Races

May 26, 2015 · 1:00 PM EDT

Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s challenge to Republican Sen. John McCain impacts our ratings of two races in Arizona. 

Up to this point, McCain was considered a heavy favorite for re-election to a sixth term, in part because the senator has proven to be a tough campaigner. Moreover, Republicans have carried The Grand Canyon State in the last four presidential elections, and Democrats haven’t won an Arizona Senate race since 1988. But Kirkpatrick could be a formidable foe who is credible enough to attract attention from donors beyond Arizona and Democratic outside groups.

There is still plenty of time for the race to evolve, including other Democrats potentially jumping in and a potential primary challenger to McCain, but the race looks more competitive than it was before Kirkpatrick’s announcement (which was first reported by Roll Call). We’re changing our rating from Republican Favored to Lean Republican.

Kirkpatrick leaves behind a very competitive House seat that will be challenging for Democrats to defend.

Mitt Romney won the 1st District, 50 percent to 48 percent, in 2012, and McCain won it 51 percent to 48 percent in the 2008 presidential race. Kirkpatrick won re-election last cycle in the face of a challenging electoral environment. But her challenger, state Speaker…

500 Attack Emails Couldn’t Take Down Thom Tillis

Nathan L. Gonzales May 26, 2015 · 11:41 AM EDT

There were a few constants during the 2014 cycle: death, taxes, my three young kids waking up before 7 a.m. and a daily Democratic email attacking North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis. But in the end, even in the face of hundreds of blistering emails, the Republican challenger knocked off Democratic…

Can Republicans Repeat an Upset in Colorado?

Stuart Rothenberg May 21, 2015 · 11:06 AM EDT

The May 5 email I received from Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign committee opened with: “Larry Sabato in Politico: COLORADO IS ONE OF ONLY SEVEN 2016 TOSS-UPS. Colorado will decide the 2016 election!”

Forget the fact Sabato’s piece was talking about the Electoral College and the…