After initially giving a slight edge to the Democrats, The Rothenberg Report has re-labeled Illinois' 12th-district congressional showdown a "pure toss-up."
The House race between incumbent Democrat Bill Enyart and Republican challenger Mike Bost is now fully up in the air, predicts political analyst and Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg in his freshly updated rating. He previously placed it in the "toss-up/tilt Democrat" category.
The Rothenberg prediction comes nearly two months after The Cook Report, another nonpartisan political newsletter, shifted the dial from favoring Enyart to dubbing Nov. 4's election a toss-up.
At Illinois' lower southwest side, the battleground district 12 cuts through counties including Jackson and St. Clair and cities including East St. Louis, Carbondale and Mount Vernon.
Back in August, Cook tied the Enyart's electoral vulnerability to constituents' negative opinion of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who's embroiled in a close re-election battle against GOP candidate Bruce Rauner and has been considered a liability within his own party.
"Several polls show Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn well behind in this Downstate district, and that has Enyart backers worried," said its report. "Democrats portray GOP state Rep. Mike Bost as 'Meltdown Mike' for his infamous tirade on the state House floor, but Bost has worked hard to cast Enyart as 'Beltway Bill' and actually outraised him in the second quarter of this year."
Second-quarter disclosures revealed that Bost raised $168,207 in campaign donations to Enyart's $135,735. The incumbent leads in total contributions, however, raking in nearly $1 million since last fall while Bost picked up $353,154.
Regarding that aforementioned "infamous tirade": Bost is attempting to make lemons from his eye-poppingly unhinged freak-out over pension reform circa May 2012, an endless source of fodder for Team Enyart's attack ads.
"You know, it is the job of my opponent to try to paint me as something I’m not," he said in a radio interview earlier this week. "What w'’re hearing from constituents out there is, you know what? They're tired of people going to Springfield and going to Washington, and sitting there."
Let's roll the footage, shall we?