Cook Political Report: Nolan-Mills race now a toss-up

WASHINGTON — Here’s some red meat for political watchers on the final Friday before Congress’ August recess (and  lawmakers’ re-election campaigning) begins in earnest: The Cook Political Report, one of the more respected of the D.C. forecasting shops, has shifted its assessment of three Minnesota U.S. House races in Republicans’ favor.

The highlight here is probably the 8th District race between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and businessman Stewart Mills, which Cook now considers a toss-up and potentially “one of the most brutal House races of the year” (Here’s a link to Cook’s write-up of its ratings changes, though it’s behind a paywall). This race has the attention of more people in D.C. than just forecasters: Outside groups have already targeted the race and ads have been on the air hitting both candidates, which is probably a harbinger of how things are going to be between now and Election Day.

It’s worth noting that Cook is among the first major prognosticators to put the race in the toss-up category: my two other favorites, Rothenberg and the University of Virginia’s Crystal Ball, still give the edge to Nolan (but for how long?).

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Cook also moved the 7th District race from a likely hold for Rep. Collin Peterson to a more tenuous “lean Democratic” rating. Peterson is running against state Sen. Torrey Westrom, a challenger considered much stronger than the token opposition Republicans have thrown at Peterson in the past.

Finally, Cook says Rep. John Kline has a solid hold on his seat. They had Kline as a likely winner before, but have moved him completely off their board at this point (as Rothenberg had previously).

Here Cook’s full list of House ratings.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/01/2014 - 10:59 am.

    Word of the Day

    on November 5th: Tsunami.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 08/01/2014 - 12:29 pm.

      Word of the year


      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/01/2014 - 01:59 pm.

        Word of the decade

        Dennis has misoverestimated his party’s chances before.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 08/01/2014 - 02:10 pm.


          I’m convinced that these prognostications are meant to convince themselves, more than anyone else. I see no other reason for reacting every time they see any sort of potential positive news. Frankly, I think they’re terrified and know that they’re going to come up short. Plus, in 2016, the shoe is on the other foot and it’s the GOP that will have more seats to defend. It’s really their last hurrah.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/01/2014 - 02:30 pm.

            Oh yeah

            The GOP is totally going to crap the bed in 2016… and it will be simultaneously hilarious and frightening.

            Honestly, I think the GOP will make gains locally and nationally in 2014, but nowhere near their predictions, and with margins much closer than they think. But if and when that happens, it’s going to be silly season all the way until the inauguration of President Hillary Clinton.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 08/01/2014 - 02:47 pm.


              I wouldn’t be shocked if the picked up five senate seats. I’m more interested in how they do in state races. They have some major issues in states with incumbent republican governors. Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania and now Wisconsin (that one has gotta sting) are all in play

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/01/2014 - 02:14 pm.


      Dennis accurately predicted the 2012 tsunami that elected President Romney.

  2. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 08/02/2014 - 09:27 am.

    Cook’s report? Mills and Nolan neck and neck?

    The ‘cook’ has been sleeping with the tooth fairy again…if they, the Cook gang value their credibility, turn off the alarm, hop out of bed and check again. It’s strictly the ‘boy factor’ and a great deal of ignorance riding the Repub rocking horse into the sunset maybe. Another silly candidate dug up by the conservatives,eh? Sad one indeed.

  3. Submitted by Robert Walz on 08/04/2014 - 09:16 am.

    8th District to Remain Democratic!

    Mills was born with a silver spoon. He is not in touch with the average person in this district.

    After the District’s experience with Chip Cravaack, I doubt whether they would elect another Republican. Chip not only cheated on his wife, it put his ideology before the needs of our District.

    I, for one, will not purchase anything more from Fleet Farm. I am shocked that Mills earns more than a half million dollars. What does a worker earn at Fleet Farm?

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