Former Republican Rep. Ed Hooper may hold a considerable lead in fundraising, but a new poll shows former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy with the advantage among Senate District 16 voters.
The new poll, conducted July 29 through Aug. 2 by SEA Polling & Strategic Design, found Murphy with 41 percent support among likely voters with Hooper coming in 2 points behind at 39 percent.
As with past polls of SD 16, the small difference between Murphy and Hooper falls within the poll’s margin of error.
As the polling memo notes: “Amanda Murphy holds a two-point lead despite significant spending on Hooper’s behalf throughout July and early August. Two public polls conducted by St. Pete Polls showed Murphy leading or in a dead-heat with Ed Hooper which set off fire alarms in the Senate Majority office and likely led to Hooper’s midsummer panic spending.”
Indeed, Hooper has spent a considerable amount of cash in the past several weeks, though he certainly has the campaign funds to do so.
As of July 27, his campaign and committee accounts have brought in nearly $660,000 and had $492,647 at the ready. Murphy, meanwhile, has raised $103,625 between her campaign and committee accounts, with a combined $86,763 on hand at the end of the reporting period.
Murphy is the lone Democratic candidate running for SD 16, while Hooper faces a light challenge from Palm Harbor restaurateur Leo Karruli in the Aug. 28 Republican primary.
SD 16 covers northern Pinellas and southwestern Pasco counties. The seat has a Republican edge — it voted plus-12 for Donald Trump in 2016 and was held by Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala until he resigned the seat in early January.
The SEA poll took responses from 350 registered voters living in SD 16. It was conducted by live operators, with 40 percent of the responses coming in from cellphones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.23 percentage points.