“Crystal Ball” Sees Gloomy Future For Rahall

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” political forecast today moved Rep. Nick Rahall’s (D-WV) congressional race from “Toss-Up” to “Leans Republican”:

These structural factors are not new, but what has changed our thinking on the race are some recent developments. Rahall joined the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog Coalition in the House, after eschewing membership in previous cycles. He also argued that he voted with President George W. Bush more often than President Obama. (PolitiFact questioned his math.) And, as mentioned above, he reportedly recently considered retirement (he and his team vehemently deny this report).

These are not moves made by a confident member. …

In the here and now, we now see Rahall as a slight underdog in his reelection bid, and we’re moving the rating in his race to LEANS REPUBLICAN. Perhaps a Democratic counterattack will boost his numbers, but Rahall is uniquely positioned amongst Democratic House incumbents to be harmed by President Obama, and our new rating reflects that.