The Wide World of Politics Blog Election Ratings reports two changes this week.
First, developments in the Kansas Senate race have led me to move this race from “Leans Republican” to “Leans Independent.” The recent ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court that Democrat Chad Taylor may, in fact, withdraw his name from the ballot is clearly beneficial to independent candidate Greg Orman, and one-on-one polling pitting Orman against incumbent GOP Senator Pat Roberts shows a clear Orman lead. This blog now sees Orman as a slight favorite, though it remains to be seen if the professional help Roberts has recently begun to receive from GOP HQ in Washington will help him right his sinking ship.

This rating change now puts the Republicans at 50 seats—1 shy of a majority—and the Democrats at 48 seats, with two independents, Orman and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), positioned to determine the Senate majority. King currently caucuses with Democrats.

The second rating change involves the Illinois governor’s race. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been struggling for a plethora of reasons, but recent polling has shown Quinn rebounding considerably and moving ahead of Republican businessman Bruce Rauner. Given Quinn’s big move in the polls, and his history of overcoming long odds to prevail, not to mention the state’s strong Democratic edge, this blog has now moved the Illinois governor’s race from “Leans Republican” to “Leans Democratic,” though it also has been added to the Watch List.

This rating change now shows an even split at the gubernatorial level, with Republicans and Democrats each poised to control 25 seats, though two of this blog’s ratings (favoring Democrats in Michigan and Wisconsin) are out of step with most predictions at this point. This blog favors Democrats Mark Schauer in Michigan and Mary Burke in Wisconsin due to their recent upward polling trends. It remains to be seen if a plagiarism flap involving Burke will halt or reverse her momentum.

Click here for the newest ratings sheet.