Politics & Government

Nonpartisan analysts put Issa, Denham, Knight congressional races in toss-up category

In this July 23, 2013, file photo, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Denham is facing a challenge from Democrat Michael Eggman in the 10th District in the Central Valley.
In this July 23, 2013, file photo, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Denham is facing a challenge from Democrat Michael Eggman in the 10th District in the Central Valley. AP

National political analysts are becoming increasingly convinced that congressional Republicans running for re-election in California are in danger.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report is now declaring that the race between Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. and Democrat Michael Eggman is a toss-up, meaning that is one of the most competitive races in the nation where either of the candidates has a good chance to win.

The Cook Political Report also moved the race between Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Democrat Doug Applegate north of San Diego into the category of toss-up. The Los Angeles County race between Rep. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, and Democrat Bryan Caforio is also rated a toss-up.

University of Virginia Center of Politics director Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball sees a growing risk for California Republicans as well and on Friday moved the Denham, Issa and Knight races from “lean Republican” to toss-up.

“Republicans have long struggled in California House races, and the potential exists for Democrats to add to their already impressive 39-14 seat majority in the nation’s largest House delegation. . . . Ultimately, Trump is just a bad fit for diverse California, and Republicans may not have much reason to vote: In addition to an unappealing nominee at the top of the ticket, the Senate race features two Democrats,” wrote Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball.

Kondik wrote that Republicans do have a chance to pick up a seat in the Sacramento suburbs, where Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, is running against Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, but that Sabato’s Crystal Ball still sees Bera as a “small favorite” to prevail in the race.

The Cook Political Report also rates the Bera-Jones race as “leans Democratic.”

Sean Cockerham: 202-383-6016, @seancockerham

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