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Cook: GOP chances up in Hawaii's 1st, down in Pennsylvania's 12th

The Cook Political Report, cautious and usually right about these things (House races editor David Wasserman is the most underrated political analysts in Washington), gives Democrats their first "upgrade" in a long, long time. The race in Pennsylvania's 12th District, which opened upon the death of John Murtha, has been downgraded from "lean Republican" to tossup, while Hawaii's 1st District has been upgraded from tossup to "lean Republican."

Literally, it's a one-for-one trade. As far as the political narrative goes, however, it's a breath of hope for Democrats. Washington is starting to write off the Democrats' chances in Hawaii's 1st because of a hopelessly fluked and flawed special election, in which the party had brawled over which candidate to support as voters, for the first time, cast mail-in ballots in an all-party election. I think there's a lack of appreciation for GOP candidate Charles Djou's chances of holding the seat in November, but really, if he wins with about 40 percent of the vote, it's just not going to be seen as a referendum. That makes Pennsylvania's 12th, whose voters will make up their minds on the same day that they choose whether to end the career of Sen. Arlen Specter (D), the one that Democrats need to win to protect their narrative. In Cook's phrasing, "Republicans have no excuse to lose" the seat.

By David Weigel  |  May 13, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Next: Last call

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