UPDATE 8:28 AM FRIDAY: I finally connected with Harmer chief campaign consultant Tim Clark last night (he was in an all-day conference) and he had some interesting additional information about his candidate’s poll. See the updated information in italics in the entry below.
Tenth Congressional District GOP candidate David Harmer touted a new poll in a fundraising email he sent out this week he says shows him beating Democrat Lt. Gov. John Garamendi 49 percent to 32 percent among voters who have heard of both candidates.
The survey of 450 likely voters also concluded that when respondents were asked whether they intended to vote for a generic Republican or Democrat, the GOP candidate received 40 percent compared with 44 percent for the Democrat. And it showed Harmer ahead among decline-to-state voters 40 percent to 26 percent.
That sound you hear is Garamendi laughing. Loudly.
“That’s not what my polling shows,” Garamendi said. “Look, this is a poll designed to raise money from the Republican base. It has no bearing on reality. If the Republicans think the Democrats are just going to sit back and go to sleep in this election, they are wrong. There is no way I am going to let that happen.”
The poll does seem, well, to put it nicely, a tad delusional.
The lieutenant governor has overwhelming name identification in a congressional district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 18 percentage points. Harmer is a political unknown likely to raise just a fraction of the money that his opponent will collect.
However, a reputable survey firm, Wilson Research out of Washington, D.C., conducted the telephone poll commissioned jointly by Harmer and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. It was conducted Sept. 23-24 and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent. The email solicitation features the name of well-known Republican fundraiser and Harmer campaign finance director Kristin Hueter.
Harmer chief political consultant Tim Clark said the poll numbers do not indicate his client has suddenly become the frontrunner. In fact, in a direct match-up between the men among all those questioned in the survey (not just those who have heard of both candidates), Harmer is down 6 1/2 percentage points, Clark said.
“Our client is in the hunt, that’s what we are saying,” Clark said.
Clark points to the shift in the generic ballot, where those surveyed were asked, “If the election were held today, would you vote for a Republican or Democrat?” In August, their internal polling showed the split at 52 percent Democrat and 29 percent Republican. This polls shows the split at 44 percent Democrat, 40 percent Republican.
“John Garamendi has to be worried about this shift,” Clark said.
Clark also says the poll also shows that 30 percent of those surveyed have a negative view of Garamendi, the result of a tough primary where his Democratic opponents spent thousands of dollars painting him as a carpet-bagging opportunist. (Garamendi lives just outside the District 10 line in Walnut Grove and dropped his faltering governor’s campaign in order to run for Congress.)
Harmer supporters say public sentiment is shifting away from Democrats such as Garamendi who support a public health insurance option. They correctly point out that Harmer beat Garamendi among ballots cast on Election Day on Sept. 1.
I’m not buying that last argument, though. Just one out of every four votes cast on Sept. 1 in Contra Costa County, which comprises the largest segment of the 10th District, took place on Election Day. Everyone else in Contra Costa County voted by mail, where Harmer placed third behind state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. (In all votes cast the 10th District, which includes portions of four counties, Harmer came in second place: Garamendi, 27,580 votes or 25.7 percent; Harmer, 22,582 votes or 21 percent; DeSaulnier, 18,888 votes. or 17.6 percent)
Turnout at the Nov. 3 special general election will very likely reflect a similar if not higher percentage of votes by mail. Voting by mail starts Monday.
Read on for the full content of Harmer’s fundraiser email:
With the CD 10 Special Election to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher only 34 days away, we have exciting news to report: Republican candidate David Harmer has pulled even in the polls with liberal Democrat opponent, John Garamendi. Garamendi is being dragged down by the Democrats in Congress and Nancy Pelosi in particular, whose unfavorable rating in the District is a whopping 70%.
To ensure David’s victory, our strategy will cost approximately $265,000 to $290,000 which we need to raise and collect in the next 18 days. Here is the breakdown of how any monies raised will be spent:
- Voter contact: voter mail, absentee ballot outreach & GOTV phones (Total: $165,000)
- Television, radio & online media (Total: $125,000 )
- Ground operation: volunteer mobilization, yard signs, brochures & door hangers (Total: $ 25,000)
Your support in this Special Election right now will solidly help make the difference between sending a Republican or another Democrat to Washington. Thanks in advance for helping us reclaim this seat and send a desperately needed fiscal conservative to Washington.
Kindly visit www.harmerforcongress.com to make an immediate contribution
Make checks payable to “Friends of David Harmer“
2000 Powell St., Suite 1250, Emeryville, CA 94608
FEC ID# C00461657
Harmer Closes the Gap in CD10
² As of Monday, Sept. 28th David Harmer has just pulled dead even with his opponent. Generic ballot has shifted dramatically to 40% Republican, 44% Democratic, as compared to 29% Republican, 52% Democratic in August. When adjusted for likely turnout that ballot number moves to dead even.
² John Garamendi is carrying a significant 30% negative in this District, evidence of a damaging primary election.
² Among those voters who have heard of both candidates, Harmer is winning by a substantial 49% to 32% for Garamendi. This means, if Harmer gets his message out, he wins by a comfortable margin.
² Harmer is also leading among Decline-to-State voters by a margin of 40% for Harmer, 26% for Garamendi.
Please contact: Kristin Hueter, Finance Director, Harmer for Congress
Phone: 510.420.1199 / Fax: 510.420.1551 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions to Friends of David Harmer are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle. An individual may contribute up to $2,400 for the primary election and up to $2,400 for the general election. Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute up to $5,000 for each election. Contributions by foreign nationals, corporations and minors prohibited.
This communication is paid for by Friends of David Harmer, Inc.