AR-1 (OPEN-D): This seat being vacated by Democrat Marion Berry is in Republican territory, but a rare recruiting strike-out for Republicans this cycle now gives Democrats a better-than-even chance at retaining the seat. The Crystal Ball now rates the seat as Leans D.
MA-10 (OPEN-D): This week marked the end of the worst kept secret in Massachusetts since Tom Brady and Gisele’s wedding. Seven-term Democrat Bill Delahunt finally announced his retirement, only after Joseph Kennedy III stated he would not seek the seat when Delahunt leaves office. The territory is usually hospitable to Democrats and there are plenty of Democratic officeholders in the area from which to recruit a formidable candidate, but Scott Brown’s impressive showing in the district and a political environment described as “volatile” by local Democrats could threaten their hold on the seat. Pending a final field of candidates on both sides, the Crystal Ball puts this race in the Leans D column.
NY-29 (OPEN-D): Oh boy, where to start? Democrat Eric Massa grabbed headlines by announcing his retirement, citing a recurrence of cancer. Soon after, allegations of sexual harassment emerged. Massa admitted to “salty language” but denied anything further although he resigned, claiming he was being “forced out” by the White House and Rahm Emanuel because of his vote against health care reform (he prefers a single-payer system). Then more concrete details surfaced that the House Ethics Committee was investigating a report that he groped a male staffer. Massa became an unlikely, if fleeting, hero of the right who thought he might be able to shed light on corruption in the White House and their heavy-handed tactics. Massa even appeared on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News Channel. The result: a car crash in slow motion as Massa’s erratic behavior, over-sharing, and lack of specifics led Beck to apologize to his viewers, “I have wasted an hour of your time.” Massa’s 2008 victory was a squeaker in a Republican-leaning district and an open seat race (and a special election, should Governor David Paterson call one) here remains a Toss-Up.
PA-8 (Patrick Murphy-D): In 2006 Democrat Patrick Murphy bested one-term incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick by just 0.6% of the vote. After a relatively easy reelection in 2008 against an underfunded opponent, Murphy now must fend off a comeback bid from Fitzpatrick seeking to capitalize on a much friendlier political environment. Given the closeness of their last contest and the anti-incumbent and anti-Democratic winds now swirling, the Crystal Ball now rates this race as a Toss-Up.
Updated Crystal Ball House Ratings