Despite it being a Republican year, Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson may be in a secure position in his swing district. From internal polling his camp recently released,
In the first post-primary poll conducted in FL-8, Congressman Alan Grayson enjoys a 13-point lead. The results are:
Alan Grayson 40% Daniel Webster 27% Others 23% Undecided 11%
Of greatest interest to readers of IPR is the option “Others”. The Grayson press release notes,
Perhaps the most surprising result is the strong support enjoyed by third-party candidates. Apart from Grayson, the Democrat, and Webster, the Republican, three other candidates have met Florida’s ballot qualification requirements for the November election. The others are drawing a remarkable 32% of the Republican vote, and 30% of the Independent vote (but only 9% of the Democratic vote).
The three “Other” candidates are Independent George Metcalfe, Florida Whig Party candidate Steve Gerritzen, and TEA Party candidate Peg Dunmire. Of the three, Dunmire is easily waging the most visible campaign.
Polls typically include other as a choice when they want to avoid inaccurate results through the inclusion of obscure third party candidates. This means that it is not an uncommon phenomenom to sometimes see other claiming up to 10% of the vote. However, 23% indicates a strong level of support for some alternative party candidate.
To be sure, there are many barriers to victory for the three would-be Congressmen. For starters, Metcalfe and Gerritzen have received practically zero press attention. Dunmire has received limited press attention, but normally only in the context of “spoiling” Republican Dan Webster’s chances in the race.
Second, the candidates have raised little money. Gerritzen has raised less than $5,000 and Metcalfe around $8,000 Dunmire has raised about $40,000, but she and the Florida TEA Party promise more money is to come.
Finally, this is an internal poll. Depending on how the questions were actually asked, the results could be skewed in Grayson’s favor (or in favor of third party conservatives who could split his Republican opponent’s base). Considering the hefty lead the poll exhibits for Grayson, this is a very plausible theory.
Nevertheless, Dunmire still appears to have the potential to capitalize on Republican discontent. She recently won a straw poll at the Florida Campaign for Liberty “Liberty Summit”. While such a result is nowhere close to scientific, it does show the ability to turn out volunteers and have boots on the ground for a campaign. For a third party candidacy, such campaign organization is a necessity.