Ray Blacklidge up 25 points over Jeremy Bailie in HD 69 GOP primary


Madeira Beach lawyer Ray Blacklidge holds a better than 2-to-1 lead over St. Petersburg lawyer Jeremy Bailie according to a new poll of the two-way Republican primary for Pinellas County’s House District 69.

The St. Pete Polls survey found 48 percent of likely Republican primary voters were backing Blacklidge, while Bailie came in behind “undecided” with 23 percent support. The poll was conducted Aug. 13, just a few days after Bailie made negative headlines for swiping hand tags placed by Blacklidge canvassers.

Bailie has since apologized for the incident, which went semi-viral after a video recorded by a Blacklidge volunteer was posted to Facebook and YouTube.

The survey also found that 39 percent of Republicans had already cast their ballot in the primary race, and among that subset Blacklidge’s lead expanded to 35 points with 13 percent saying they were undecided. For the 61 percent of voters who’ve yet to cast their ballot but plan to vote, the spread is 42-21 in favor of Blacklidge with 37 percent unsure.

Blacklidge’s lead carries across both genders and among young voters, boomers, and seniors. The lone bright spot for Bailie came from 30- to 49-year-old Republicans, who favored him 36-27 with the balance undecided.

The pair are competing to fill the southern Pinellas County seat being vacated by Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who is leaving the House after three terms to run for the District 6 seat on the Pinellas County Commission.

To date, Blacklidge has posted the better fundraising reports in the Republican primary, with more than $200,000 raised between his campaign and political committee, Friends of Ray Blacklidge. Including about $34,500 in self-funding, Blacklidge had more than $78,000 in the bank on Aug. 3.

Bailie, through the same date, had raised more than $76,000, including $6,125 in candidate contributions, and had a little over left $32,000 in his campaign account.

HD 69 covers part of southern Pinellas County including coastal communities from Redington Shores southward as well as a piece of mainland Pinellas. The district has a slim Republican advantage.

The winner of the Republican nomination will go up against Democratic nominee Jennifer Webb, who holds the overall cash lead with $160,000 raised and about $114,000 in the bank.

Webb was also the Democratic nominee in the 2016 cycle but lost to Peters by 13 points on Election Day. Peters, a former Mayor and Commissioner in South Pasadena, ran several points ahead of Donald Trump, who won the district by 3 points.

The automated phone poll took responses from 303 registered Republicans who said they planned to vote in the Aug. 28 primary election. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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