An automated phone poll conducted over the weekend surveyed 358 registered HD 58 voters and found the Plant City native trailed Republican businessman Lawrence McClure 54-36 percent, with another 10 percent saying they were unsure which candidate they would choose at the ballot box.
McClure polled 20 points better than Fry among whites, and did similarly well among both men and women. He also dominated among voters over 30 – voters aged 50 to 69 picked McClure over Fry by 32 points, with only 7 percent saying they were unsure.
Fry’s only wins came among the 18-29 crowd, 50-33, and among Hispanics, who preferred her 2-to-1 over McClure.
About 44 percent of those polled also said they had already voted in the special primary,
The prime timers have turned out for the election, too, with more than 55 percent of the 70-and-up crowd having already cast their ballot.
There’s still a day left before the door shuts on the primary, but even Fry’s wins don’t paint a pretty picture in a district where 64 percent of the electorate are non-Hispanic whites, and the median age is hovering around the late-30s.
Fry was the first-in candidate for the special election, which Gov. Rick Scott scheduled after former Rep. Dan Raulerson announced he would leave office due to health issues.
She amassed plenty of support from all levels of GOP leadership, too. In addition to Raulerson coming out in support of her once he became a “private citizen,” she won over all five current Plant City Commissioners as well as neighboring Rep. Ross Spano, Attorney General Pam Bondi and a host of others.
McClure picked up his support, and cash, from allies of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who found himself at odds with Raulerson more often than not.
With those deep pockets backing him, he has led in fundraising through most of the campaign. And his major foible – having never cast a ballot in a primary election until last year– was outshined by the rash of mailers branding Fry as a liberal in cahoots with “Obama, Clinton and Pelosi” when it came to 2nd Amendment rights.
The winner of the McClure-Fry battle is the odds-on favorite for the seat, but still must face Democrat Jose Vazquez, Libertarian Bryan Zemina and non-party-affiliated Ahmad Saadaldin in a Dec. 19 general election.