WASHINGTON — Piggybacking off Doug Grow’s story this AM (Republicans are excited — again — about chances of finally unseating the 8th District’s Jim Oberstar)
The Cook Political Report, one of the most-respected D.C.-based election handicappers, has nudged Minnesota’s 8th District contest between the Democrat Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack from “Solid” to “Likely” Democratic. They’re the first to do that, every other race ratings agency in D.C. else still has this one as safe/solid for Democrats.
Cook House analyst David Wasserman told me the rating change comes as Republicans increase their focus on very senior House chairmen, arguing that their longevity in Washington makes them part of the problem here.
“I still believe Oberstar is the favorite in this race but Democrats have to take it seriously for the first time in a long time,” he said.
Per Cook, here’s the difference between their ratings:
- Solid: These races are not considered competitive and are not likely to become closely contested.
- Likely: These seats are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential tobecome engaged.
- Lean: These are considered competitive races but one party has an advantage.
- Toss-Up: These are the most competitive races; either party has a good chance of winning.
Cook has two other Minnesota races on its radar right now: MN-01 (Tim Walz vs. Randy Demmer) is rated “Lean Democratic, while MN-06 (Michele Bachmann vs. Tarryl Clark is rated (Likely Republican). All others are considered “solid” for their respective incumbents.