You may be sick of having read me ranting about how candidates matter. I must have done a dozen posts about it this cycle. And yesterday even the Cook Report acknowledged that they did. Dave Wasserman wrote that “With the vote count nearly complete in all 50 states, Republicans appear to have captured a 222 to 213 majority in the House, a mirror image of Democrats' slim current majority. Only two races have yet to be called by a major news network: California's 13th CD and Colorado's 3rd CD. But leads for Republicans John Duarte (593 votes) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (554 votes), are highly unlikely to be overturned by outstanding ballots or recounts. This was a fascinating, wildly varied result: in early 2022, few would have guessed Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-17) [an especially shitty candidate, something Cook would never say, of course] would become the first DCCC chair since 1980 to lose reelection and Democrats could simultaneously defy history and keep their House losses to single digits. Yet Republicans are set to net just nine seats, an underwhelming gain in the context of President Biden's 43% approval rating and a 40-year high, 8.2% inflation rate."
…For decades, House races have become more parliamentary, with individual candidate quality and ideological fit taking a backseat to party labels and the prevailing national winds. In 2020, there were just 16 seats that split their tickets between president and House, a faint shadow of the 83 in 2008.
But this cycle rolled back the clock: candidates and campaigns mattered, a lot. Back in September, we created an ideological scorecard to classify GOP House nominees as either ‘traditional,’ more governing-oriented Republicans or more confrontational Trump enthusiasts/endorsees and those would fit in with the hard-line Freedom Caucus. In the end, independent voters proved open to the first group. But, ‘MAGA’ true believers badly bombed.
On November 7, I posted the final Cook predictions for their definition of toss-up races. As I said at the time, their definition was flawed. I also posted the races where I was sure their predictions were wrong. Once again, here’s their list of toss-up districts with their predictions:
Where, I asked, were they off-base? But first I should say that of their 35 predictions, I agreed with 20 of them. And of those 20, we were both wrong in 7 instances— the new Colorado seat where Democrat Yadira Caraveo won by 0.7; NM-01 where Democrat Gabe Vasquez beat GOP incumbent Yvette Herrell by 0.8; NY-03, NY-04, NY-17 and NY-19 where we both though Democrats would hold on but where Republicans won in all 4 districts (3 because of horrible Democratic candidates); and NC-13 where Wiley Nickel beat Trumpist Bo Hines by 4 points.
These are the districts where we disagreed:
CA-09 (not CA—13, which was how they misumbered it) I said Josh Harder (D) would beat Tom Patti by over 3 points. They predicted Patti would win. Harder won by a hefty 10 points.
CA-49- I said Mike Levin (D) would beat Brian Maryott by over 3 points. They predicted the rematch would go to Maryott. Levin won by a healthy 6 points.
CT-05- I said Jahana Hayes (D) would keep her seat, beating George Logan by a couple points. They called it for Logan. Hayes won by 0.08 points.
IL-17- I said Eric Sorensen (D) would beat Esther Joy King by a point or two thanks to Democratic gerrymandering. They predicted King would win. Sorensen took it by 4 points.
ME-02- I said it would go into ranked choice but that Jared Golden (D) would beat Poliquin again. They picked Poliquin. Golden won in round 2 by 6 points.
MI-07- I said Elissa Slotkin (D) would beat beat Tom Barrett by a point or two. They picked Barrett. Slotkin won by 6.
MN-02- I said Angie Craig (D) will hold on against Tyler Kistner by a point or two. They predicted Kistner would win. Craig won by 5 points.
NV-03 (although Jon Ralston agrees with them and he’s good at this)- I was sure that New Dem Susie Lee would win narrowly. They said April Becker would win. Lee beat her by 4 points,
NH-01- I guessed Chris Pappas (D) would beat extremist nut Karoline Leavitt by a point or two. They picked the extremist nut. But NH voters picked Pappas by 8.
OH-01- I said it would be close but that Chabot (R) would keep his seat. They predicted Landsman would win and they got it right. Landsman slipped the seat and won 52-48%.
OH-13- Same on the other side of Ohio. I predicted Trumpist loon Madison Gesiotto Gilbert would win and they picked Emilia Sykes who did win, 53-47%.
PA-08- I was certain that Matt Cartwright (D) would beat Jim Bognet again, narrowly, but they picked Bognet. Cartwright won the rematch by 2 points.
RI-02- I predicted Seth Magaziner (D) would beat Allan Fung. They picked Fung. Magaziner won by 3 points.
WA-08- I was certain Kim Schrier (D) would be reelected. They said she would be displaced by Matt Larkin. Schrier won by 6 points.
So… in the 14 races where we disagreed, I got 12 right and they got 2 right.