Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak has long been the better-funded candidate running to replace term-limited Rep. Clay Ingram, but a new poll shows she’s now the frontrunner among primary election voters.
Inweekly/Political Matrix found Bydlak was the pick for 40 percent of likely Republican primary voters, putting her 6 points ahead of her chief rival, former Republican Rep. Mike Hill.
The third Republican in the race, Lisa Doss, checked in with just over 6 percent support, putting her behind the 13 percent who said they didn’t know the candidates and the 7 percent who said they were unsure which of the three they would vote for.
The results are a major shift from mid-June when Hill held a 27-22 percent lead over Bydlak, the remaining 51 percent of voters either unsure or unaware of the candidates.
Bydlak’s support from area Republicans, including Ingram, likely has something to do with her surge, but fundraising — more specifically the ads campaign cash can pay for — has no doubt played a big role in turning the tide.
Bydlak started hitting the airwaves a month ago, touting herself as the “fresh conservative voice” in an ad that touched on her pro-life, pro-Second Amendment views while confirming her support for President Donald Trump, who carried the Panhandle seat in a landslide two years ago.
The most recent round of campaign finance reports show Bydlak has reeled in $168,300 to-date for her state House run, with about $96,000 at the ready on July 27. That gives her a better than threefold lead in overall fundraising compared to Hill, and when it comes to cash reserves she leads by a factor of 10.
The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will face either Vikki Garrett or Franscine Mathis, both Pensacola Democrats, in the Nov. 6 general election, though HD 1’s strong Republican lean virtually assures the Republican nominee will succeed term-limited Ingram come Election Day.
The Inweekly/Political Matrix poll was conducted August 3-5. The automated phone poll surveyed 505 likely Republican voters living within the Escambia County district and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent at 95 percent confidence level.