For years, professional pundits have rated national and state political races. The rise of the Internet has brought amateur pundits and their knowledge to the political table as well. Recently, state legislative races have received additional recognition and focus from professional and amateur pundits. In 2014, The Oregonian handicapped the Oregon House and Oregon Senate. I would expect them to do this again in 2016. Beyond that, I don't know of anyone else rating seats in either chamber the Oregon Legislature. That has changed.
Today I'm introducing my ratings for the Oregon House of Representatives. These are my — admittedly amateur — ratings for each and every district in the Oregon House. I've divided each of the districts into one of following five categories:
- Safe Republican: These seats are consistently and solidly Republican. Democrats are extremely unlikely to win.
- Lean Republican: These seats favor a Republican but are more competitive and could be won by a Democrat.
- Toss Up: These seats could be won either by Republicans or Democrats.
- Lean Democrat: These seats favor a Democrat but are more competitive and could be won by a Republican.
- Safe Democrat: These seats are consistently and solidly Democrat. Republicans are extremely unlikely to win.
These ratings reflect which party or candidate I think is most likely to win the seat at it stands today. The ratings are dynamic and will change based on new information (i.e. a strong candidate enters the race, a surprising endorsement, new polling numbers are released, etc.). I do my best to make sure these ratings accurately reflect who I think has the better chance to win each seat. In the future I may develop a more specific, quantifiable, impartial standard for determining which seats fall into what category. For now the ratings are much more informal; based partly on data and partly on my personal opinion and expertise.
If you disagree feel free to send feedback. You may have some thoughts or information that will cause me to rethink my ratings for any one of these districts. For now, please hit the button below and check out my rating for the Oregon House of Representatives.