In the competitive race to replace Jay Fant in Westside Jacksonville’s House District 15, the battle between Democrat Tracye Polson and Republican Wyman Duggan is headed down to the wire, per one recent survey commissioned by the Polson campaign.
An internal poll from SEA Polling and Strategic Design showed Duggan up two points (41-39) in what Democrats see as a swing district.
A good illustration that the district is in play: The same voters polled chose Gov. Rick Scott over incumbent Bill Nelson for Senate 49-42 percent, though they prefer Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum over Republican nominee Ron DeSantis in the Governor’s race 48-46 percent.
The survey also indicated that voters can be moved from Duggan to Polson when issues are presented to contrast the candidates.
The best performers for Polson: Increasing school resource officers; protecting drinking water; and Polson’s own history as a cancer survivor and social worker with military families, which positions her well to understand issues ranging from health care disparities to the unique pressures faced by service members and their families.
When issues such as those were presented to voters, Polson had a nine-point lead with those surveyed. When issues including Duggan’s advocacy for selling JEA and an appointed school board factored in, Polson’s lead grew to 10 points.
A taste of that contrast presentation is already on Jacksonville airwaves, as Polson spotlights those issues and asks viewers: “What side is lobbyist Wyman Duggan on?”
The resource battle is worth watching down the stretch, and right now it’s favorable to the Democrat: Duggan has under $23,000 on hand after a bitter primary battle, putting him well behind Polson’s $116,000-plus, in a district that has a slight Democratic plurality.
The seat did go for Donald Trump two years ago, through Democrats haven’t fielded a candidate in HD 15 since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections, so its lean in down-ballot races hasn’t been tested.
The Polson campaign is optimistic: As one senior staffer wrote in a polling memo, “we need money to get our message out and we win.”