CQ: 3rd District ‘likely’ to keep Paulsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Erik Paulsen’s bid for a sophomore term in Congress just got a bit stronger today, a national race analyst said, after state Sen. Terri Bonoff said that she would forgo a congressional bid until 2012. Bonoff ran for that seat in 2008 but lost in a primary to eventual nominee Ashwin Madia.

Given that announcement, and Paulsen’s large cash advantage over two little-known Democrats, CQ Politics moved Minnesota’s 3rd District to Likely Republican, from Leans Republican. CQ’s rating range includes Toss-up, leans, likely, favored and safe, in that order of vulnerability.

Paulsen starts 2010 with $944,000 cash on hand, while challengers Maureen Hackett and Jim Meffert have raised $129,000 and $33,000, respectively.

The other two major Washington race-raters, Rothenberg Report and Cook Political Report, show Paulsen as “favored” and “likely,” their highest respective levels of confidence short of “safe.”

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