08 January 2010

Election 2010: Congress

The Cook Political Report has changed its handicapping of the seat held by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, from "likely Democratic" to "lean Democratic."

Cook had first ranked Mollohan's re-election chances last month as "likely," meaning "these seats are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential to become engaged."

The new "lean" ranking signifies seats "considered competitive races but one party has an advantage."

The National Republican Congressional Committee pointed out the new ranking, while also promoting an accompanying analysis (subscription required) that it says finds that Mollohan faces a "surprisingly tough race."

The NRCC has been touting David McKinley, a former state lawmaker and GOP chairman, as its favored challenger to Mollohan.

Quoting from the Cook analysis, an NRCC release says "private polling suggests the unpopularity of the president and Congress have taken a surprisingly serious toll on Mollohan's standing with voters. In fact, it is extremely rare that an incumbent of Mollohan's tenure begins a race against a relatively unknown opponent in such a precarious position."

Mollohan's seat doesn't yet appear on the latest lists of competitive races offered by The Rothenberg Political Report (updated Tuesday), Congressional Quarterly's CQ Politics or National Journal's Hotline.

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