Who will replace disgraced Representative Trent Franks?
A new ABC 15/OH Predictive Insights poll shows a tight race with some early front-runners.
The poll, conducted Monday among likely Republican special primary voters, shows former Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump with the early lead and the most name recognition among a potentially crowded field. All candidates included in the survey have either already announced their candidacy or have been mentioned and are said to be considering running for the seat.
If the primary were held today, Stump would capture 18 percent of the vote. State Senator Debbie Lesko would get 16 percent of the vote. County Commissioner Clint Hickman would capture 15 percent of the vote. State Senator Kimberly Yee would get seven percent. Aside from Stump, none of the other top potential candidates have formally declared their candidacy.
With a margin of error of just under five percent, it's a statistical tie among the top three. Thirty-seven percent of voters say they're still undecided.
"You're going to see a modern-day Hunger Games," said Mike Noble, of OH Predictive Insights. OHPI is a GOP pollster and Congressional District 8 is considered a solidly Republican district. Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday the special primary election would be held Feb. 27, leaving candidates with fewer than two months to declare their candidacy, raise money and campaign for the GOP nomination before voters begin casting ballots.
The ABC15/OHPI poll also shows, among Republicans, President Trump could still play a key role in the race. Sixty-three percent of GOP voters say a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Forty-three percent of voters say a Franks endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate.
Franks submitted his resignation Thursday, saying he had discussed surrogacy with two female staffers. On Friday, he made the resignation immediate and an aide to Franks told The Associated Press that he pressed her to carry his child and offered $5 million.
"The real X-factor here is whether or not President Trump tips the scales to a candidate in the race which would be a game changer," Noble said.
The special election primary will be held February 27, giving candidates just 78 days until election day, and 45 days before early voting begins.
The automated poll was conducted on Monday among 400 likely Republican voters. The poll was automated, which Noble said will make it lean heavily toward voters over the age of 55. The margin of error is +/- 4.89%.