Financial underdog Tony Amador, a retired U.S. Marshal, is ahead of his nearest opponent by 12 percentage points, according to his campaign’s internal tracking poll.
Now, keep in mind, these numbers come with caveats. It is an internal poll, not an independent survey. And the campaign only released a small portion of the results, not the super-secret strategic stuff.
But if they are accurate, the results are a mismatch to the conventional wisdom, which puts the horse race between Dougherty Valley attorney David Harmer and Clements grapegrower Brad Goehring, with Danville businesswoman and autism activist Elizabeth Emken as a possible surprise. Harmer and Goehring have the most money, and Emken and Goehring have written big personal checks.
Nobody put Amador, a guy who retired after decades in government service and moved to Lodi last summer specifically to run for the post, in the top tier.
Amador’s campaign manager, John Feliz, says he gave me the results because the other campaigns either have or will do their own tracking surveys and find out anyway. And since the numbers are good for his candidate, why not share?
Feliz says he polled 900 registered voters in monthly starting in January about their preferences among the candidates.
Back in January, Harmer led the group with 16 percent followed by Goehring at 12 percent, Amador at 7.41 percent and Emken at 5.67 percent.
By April, Amador moved up to 23.7 percent, while the other three candidates all lost ground: Harmer dropped to 9.99 percent, Goehring, 11.62 percent, and Emken, 4.92 percent.
Feliz attributes the surge to Amador’s ballot designation of “U.S. Marshal,” plus his recent campaign activities, including mailers and teletown halls, and the endorsement of conservatives’ favorite, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay.
By no means does this poll show that Amador will win.
Feliz also tells me that among Republican voters, nearly half remain undecided.
The other candidates will almost certainly step up their games as the June 8 election approaches, particularly after May 10 when registrars start shipping out vote-by-mail ballots.
As the candidates jockey for those votes, this race could get very spirited, starting tonight in Brentwood at a CD11 GOP primary candidates forum sponsored by the East Contra Costa TEA Party. It’s open to the public. The two-hour event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the East Bay Pentecostal Church, 605 Harvest Park Drive in Brentwood.