Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey’s congressional campaign hit back against a heavily Democrat-sampled New York Times-Siena College poll showing her opponent ahead and offering their own poll showing a dead heat in the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa.
Few polls have been released on the California 49th congressional race to replace Issa. The seat nearly went to a Democrat in 2016 who came within less than one percent of veteran Republican Congressman Issa. Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016 in her presidential bid. It is one of several seats held by Republicans, but won by Clinton in 2016, that the Democrats have targeted in the midterm elections.
The survey assumed greater Democrat turnout despite a greater number of Republicans registered in the district, based in part on turnout in recent elections. Two hundred and eight Democrats, 160 Republicans, and 139 voters affiliated with other parties resulted in 51 percent support for Democrat lawyer Mike Levin compared to 41 percent support for Harkey.
Harkey campaign consultant Andre Levesque called the NYT poll “skewed to give Democrats the advantage and the results are meaningless.” He went on, “More Republicans will vote in the 49th District than will Democrats and any poll that does not reflect that reality is worthless.”
A release from Harkey’s campaign rebutting the NYT-Siena College poll stated, “A new scientific poll of likely voters conducted September 17-20 by Public Opinion Strategies shows Harkey and Levin in a virtual dead heat, 43-45.”
“This race is tied going into the home stretch and this District overperforms for Republicans in non-Presidential years,” said Levesque.
Democrat candidate Levin has embraced House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who campaigned for Levin in late August. Pelosi is seeking to return as Speaker of the House should Democrats win a majority of seats in the midterms. Former President Barack Obama also stumped for Levin and six other California candidates in Democrat-targeted House races in early September. Hollywood comedian and left-wing activist Chelsea Handler has also campaigned for Levin.
First son Eric Trump, his wife Lara, and members of the Trump 2020 campaign team traveled to Harkey’s Vista campaign office in mid-September to support her in the race. President Donald Trump endorsed Harkey in late August.
Voters in the 49th congressional district as of May 21, 2018, were 36.34 percent Republican, 31.18 percent Democrat, 26.93 percent no party preference, and the remainder were registered with other parties. Harkey came in first in the very crowded June 5 primary election with 25.5 percent to Levin’s 17.5 percent. A total of 47.7 percent of voters chose one of the eight registered Republicans on the ballot, including Harkey, while 50.8 percent chose one of four Democrats, including Levin.