Kratovil seat tilting Republican, analyst says
Rep. Frank Kratovil, the congressman from the Eastern Shore, had his 2010 re-election chances downgraded today by independent analyst Stu Rothenberg.
The Maryland freshman, whose endangered status is nothing new, has been gearing up for what will likely be one of the toughest races in the country for a Democratic incumbent this fall.
His district, Maryland's First, is now rated "Toss-Up/Tilt Republican" by Rothenberg, publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report. Previously, he had listed the race as a "Pure Toss-Up."
Rothenberg told The Baltimore Sun last month that he considered it likely that state Sen. Andy Harris, the current favorite for the Republican nomination, would unseat Kratovil in November. But the analyst said that he had been waiting to shift the district more in the Republican direction until he saw additional information, including whether Republican state Sen. E. J. Pipkin would challenge Harris in this September's primary.
Pipkin has yet to announce his intentions.
Last week's Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election and new polls showing many Democratic incumbents in danger make it clear that "the Republicans unquestionably have momentum as 2010 begins," wrote Rothenberg, who moved 28 House seats toward the Republicans in his latest national analysis.
He currently expects Republicans to gain between 24 and 28 seats this fall, with higher totals possible.
There are a total of 72 competitive House elections (out of 435) nationwide, 58 for seats currently held by Democrats and 14 by Republicans, according to Rothenberg's district-by-district survey.
The possibility of a Republican wave this November that washes Democrats out of the majority in the House can no longer be dismissed, he concludes. But he stresses that he currently expects Republicans to fall short of the 40 seat gain they would need to reclaim the majority.
Kratovil's district, which takes in the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel counties, is the only Maryland contest on the national radar at the moment.
According to Rothenberg's rating, Kratovil ranks as one of the 9 most vulnerable Democrats in 2010.