Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
Minnesota 1st – Democratic Rep. Tim Walz seeks a 3rd term
Primary: August 10, 2010
Location: Southern Minnesota
Days until Election Day: 66
(CNN) - Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz may have more momentum heading into the fall than other freshman and sophomore lawmakers, but in a volatile midterm election season, his bid for a third term is far from a sure thing.
In Minnesota's first congressional district, a primarily rural district that includes Rochester and the original Mayo Clinic facility, voters who throughout the 1900s almost exclusively elected Republicans have made a shift toward the center in the last 20 to 30 years.
President Obama won 51 percent of the vote in 2008, marking Democratic gains from 2004 when John Kerry received 48 percent of the vote. Walz took office in the 2006 midterm elections when anti-Republican anger was at its peak. In 2008, he handily won re-election with 63 percent of the vote.
Walz has out-raised Republican Randy Demmer by a 3-to-1 margin and has nearly four times as much cash-on-hand as the state representative.
Demmer has lived in Minnesota his entire life and is serving his fourth term in the Minnesota state House, where he is the assistant minority leader. Prior to holding public office, he was a small business owner and the owner of three NAPA Auto Parts franchises.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has called Demmer a "contender" as part of its "Young Guns" program, indicating that the national party feels Demmer could pull an upset and is worthy of resources. House Minority Leader John Boehner will attend a fundraiser for the Minnesota native later this month.
The non-partisan Cook Political Report classifies the district as "Safe Democrat" and the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report lists it as "Likely Democrat."
No Democrat is completely out of the woods, however, in a year when Cook predicts Republicans will pick up 35-45 House seats. Republicans must gain 39 seats to claim control of the lower chamber.
Walz is in good position heading into the fall, but he is part of the CNN 100 because he represents an unpredictable district in an unpredictable cycle. That said, Demmer would have step up his fundraising operation considerably in order to pull off an upset.