To dive into the newly digitized archives of the Cook Political Report is to be transported to political places and times that are difficult to imagine today — when local newspaper endorsements and civic affiliations (rather than social media platforms and super PACs) were key influencers of vote choice, and split-ticket voting was the norm, not the exception. That’s not to say races were any less negative or tumultuous than they are today. But the contours of the House battlefield were much broader and less predictable from year to year.

It’s jarring, for example, to be reminded that Republicans held a congressional seat in liberal Manhattan until 1993 and Democrats were competitive in one of Idaho’s House seats as recently as 2010. Or, that in 1990, mere rumors of an extramarital affair cost a six-term GOP incumbent in Minnesota reelection in a district that generally favored his party at the presidential level. Or, that there were a whopping 93 races in the Toss Up column in our final ratings from 1992 — more than quadruple the 22 races in our

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