NEW: Sabato Crystal Ball Ratings Have Moved Texas and Kansas More Competitive
September 15, 2022
Washington, DC — As the battle for reproductive rights continues to unfold, new ratings from Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved Texas and Kansas to Competitive – a major change that underscores how these races are unfolding in the final months of the campaign.
Lou Jacobson highlighted the importance of abortion in these rating changes: “And if anything, [AG’s] importance may have grown during the course of this campaign, given the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade, as well as continuing battles over election administration and voting rights.”
In Texas, Ken Paxton is in some serious trouble, “Despite his indictment for alleged securities fraud and an FBI investigation over abuse of office, Paxton secured the GOP nomination for another term…Still, Paxton is widely considered the most vulnerable of the Texas Republican incumbents on the ballot this year in a state that has shown some signs of a blue shift.”
“The Democrats are running a credible candidate for AG in Rochelle Garza, who won a contested primary. As an attorney who has litigated on abortion, Garza can speak to voter concerns about abortion restrictions, which were already a notable issue in Texas even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade earlier this year. She’s also a Latina, which could help with Hispanics, who account for a significant portion of the electorate in Texas.”
While in the midwestern state of Kansas, “Ordinarily, this seat would at least lean towards the GOP, but this is not an ordinary year in Kansas politics. The surprise surge of support for abortion rights in an August ballot measure showed that many Kansas voters are uneasy with the most conservative elements of the GOP.”
“But the biggest factor shaping Kansas’ AG race is the person who won the GOP nomination: Kris Kobach. The onetime secretary of state has spent his career aggressively focusing on alleged election fraud and illegal immigration, to the irritation of many Kansas voters in the center and the moderate right. When Kobach won the nomination for governor in 2018, enough Republicans considered him too toxic that Kelly managed to defeat him, despite the state’s historically red leanings. Two years later, Kobach lost the GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat. But facing a splintered GOP field, Kobach won the AG nomination earlier this year.”
“The Democratic nominee is Chris Mann, a former police officer who is now a prosecutor in Wyandotte County (Kansas City). Mann isn’t well known, but on paper, his background gives him solid “law and order” credentials.”
The previous ratings came out in January.