Connolly Up 20 Points in Poll
New polling by Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly continues to show him with a significant lead over Leslie L. Byrne in the race for the 11th District Democratic Congressional nomination.
The poll of likely Democratic primary voters, first reported yesterday by the Congressional newspaper The Hill, had Connolly ahead of Byrne by a 20-point margin, 45-25. That is just slightly below the 23-point spread Connolly claimed in a January poll. Both surveys were conducted by Lake Research Partners.
It shows two other opponents, Doug Denneny and Lori Alexander, trailing far behind with one percent each.
The latest poll reports a strong job approval rating for Connolly, with 61 percent of voters crediting him with an "excellent" or "good" performance. The Connolly survey placed Byrne's voter rating for her single term in Congress (1993-95) at 41 percent "excellent" or "good."
Byrne campaign manager Joe Fox dismissed the poll, and said his research still shows Byrne leading by about 10 points. "Their numbers didn't make sense a month ago, and they don't make any sense now," said Fox, referring to the January Connolly survey.
He added that it was preposterous for Connolly to compare his approval rating for an office he currently occupies to Byrne's for a post she last held more than a dozen years ago. "It makes no sense and the only reason to do it is to mislead," Fox said.
Meanwhile, the 11th District Democratic Committee has announced plans to sponsor four candidate debates before the June 10 primary. Chairman George Burke said one would be held in each of the district's three principal jurisdictions, Fairfax and Prince William counties, and Fairfax City. A fourth will be carried on Fairfax television channel 10. Dates and sites will be announced later.
The Denneny campaign sparked a minor skirmish earlier this month when it said that it had accepted an invitation to an April 14 debate at George Mason University to be sponsored by the Fairfax County Young Democrats. The only problem, the group's leadership said, was that the "invitation" was nothing more than an initial discussion of the idea, and that there had been no consultation with other campaigns about scheduling or a site.
For the moment, Byrne and Connolly are the only candidates assured of places on the ballot because their petitions have been certified by the committee to the state board of elections. Burke said Denneny and Alexander have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit their materials. He said both have indicated that they will meet the deadline.
Burke said position on the ballot is determined by the order in which petitions and other paperwork are certified. Because Byrne and Connolly submitted their materials at the same time, ordering was decided by a coin flip on March 25. Byrne's husband, Larry, represented his wife and Connolly stalwart John Jennison, covered for the chairman. Jennison called tails. It came up heads, which means Byrne will be listed first.
April 9, 2008; 3:33 PM ET
Categories: Bill Turque , Election 2008/Congress , Gerald E. Connolly
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