Yet another national election analyst has upped the competitive rating for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-1st.
Congressional Quarterly's CQ Politics no longer considers the race "Safe Democratic," casting it instead as "Likely Democratic."
"But an emerging and determined Republican opposition to Mollohan, the conservative lean of his 1st district and a challenging political environment for Democrats suggest he will have to fight more vigorously to win re-election this year," the analysis explains. "The new rating still gives Mollohan the advantage but acknowledges the possibility that a highly competitive race could develop in the district, which includes Wheeling, Parkersburg and Morgantown."
The rating change comes on the heels of news that the U.S. Justice Department has dropped its nearly four-year probe of the 14-term incumbent. CQ Politics called that "good news," while noting that "Mollohan could still face scrutiny from the House ethics committee."
The updated analysis follows a beltway visit by would-be Mollohan challenger Mac Warner, which had prompted CQ Politics to announce that it was re-evaluating its view of the seat.
As for rating changes from other national election watchers:
- The Rothenberg Political Report: "Lean Democratic" on Jan. 25, from unranked (and leapfrogging over "Democrat Favored).