Key DC pundit changes CD3 rating to favor Heck

The Rothenberg Political Report has shifted its rating for Rep. Joe Heck's district from "Lean Republican" to "Republican Favored," which could be a blow to Democrat Erin Bilbray's fundraising.

RPR is one of the more respected firms in the country, and its words are heeded in DC and elsewhere.

The rating change comes after Bilbray's tepid second quarter of fundraising that leaves her $1 million behind Heck in cash on hand -- $1.5 million to $500,000. Here's how RPR sees the race:

NV 3 (Heck, R). Given the narrow partisan divide in the district, Democrats are taking another run at Joe Heck. A perky veteran of the political wars and the daughter of former Democratic Cong. Jim Bilbray, Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray looked like a threat to the incumbent. But her campaign gets bad reviews from all quarters, and she looks less and less like a serious problem for Heck. Neither the DCCC or House Majority PAC (D) has reserved any television ad time in Las Vegas up to this point. Move from Lean Republican to Republican Favored.

Hard to argue with that. Heck is favored, and many smart Democrats here believe Bilbray needs to catch a lot of breaks and improve as a candidate to make the race competitive and put it on national Democratic radar screens.