Despite controversial comments, survey shows Brian Mast leading Pam Keith in CD 18

Brian Mast_Pam Keith
Mast recently apologized for old jokes about sleeping with 15-year-olds and rape.

A new St. Pete Polls survey has Republican Rep. Brian Mast with an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Pam Keith.

Mast earned 50% support in the survey, which ran on Friday, Sept. 18. Keith received 42% support. Non-party affiliated candidate K.W. Miller pulled in just over 2%. Another 5% of respondents were undecided.

Mast holds a lead despite earning rebukes over recently-unearthed comments from around a decade ago where he joked about sleeping with 15-year-olds and rape. People on both sides of the political spectrum have called for Mast to resign over those comments. Mast has apologized for the social media posts and resisted calls to step down.

Despite the controversy, Mast’s 8-point lead sits outside the survey’s 2.9-percentage-point margin of error. The survey sampled 1,149 likely voters inside Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

The poll showed Keith underperforming Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden inside CD 18. Biden is earning 48.5% support as compared to 48.2% for President Donald Trump.

That’s a significant shift for Democrats when compared to 2016. Trump topped then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton 53%-44% inside CD 18.

According to an analysis by MCI Maps, that shift was largely prompted by a sharp swing in St. Lucie County toward Republicans. CD 18 covers parts of northern Palm Beach County — including West Palm Beach — and extends into Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Mast won the open seat in 2016 by more than 10 percentage points. That came just two years after Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy won his own reelection bid by nearly 20 percentage points. In 2018, Mast again won comfortably with a margin of 8 percentage points.

That’s right in line the latest results from St. Pete Polls. Mast is also carrying a large money advantage into the General Election cycle. The most recent reports cover financial data through July 29. As of that date, Mast holds more than $1.81 million while Keith is sitting on just $101,000.

In July, Rachel Bitecofer of the Niskanen Center shifted the race to a toss up after previously favoring Mast. Bitecofer posted one of the most accurate House projections of the 2018 cycle.

That stands as an outlier at the moment, however. Two other well-respected analyses — one by Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, another by the Cook Political Report — don’t even list CD 18 as a competitive race.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Sonja Fitch

    September 21, 2020 at 6:17 am

    Mast is a Russian Operative! Mast was aided by a Russian Hacker to win his election ! Mast is just another goptrump cult sociopath racist sexist liar! Vote Blue! Vote Democrat up and down ballot!

  • martin

    September 21, 2020 at 9:16 am

    liar, liar, pants on fire. Take your meds.

    • James Robert Miles

      September 21, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Maybe its YOU who needs your meds!!

  • Lynn

    September 21, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Pam Keith’s background as a Veteran serves us better than creepy mast.

    • Cone

      September 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      Actually I question her integrity as a naval officer. Her ad about Trump making comments against military personal has been disproven by numerous people that was there. She loss a lot of retired veterans support including mine.

      • James Robert Miles

        September 21, 2020 at 5:13 pm

        So it doesn’t bother you that Trump called dead U.S. soldiers suckers and losers? Who has disproved this fact? Bury your head in the sand if you want to but Trump’s remarks about dead U.S. soldiers is a proven fact unless of course, you get your “news” from Faux! I know, anything bad about your dear leader is “fake news” even if it is the truth. The truth hurts doesn’t it!

      • G.I. Janie

        September 21, 2020 at 6:12 pm

        I question why Trumpers-such as yourself–can’t spell. The actual spelling you were looking for is “personnel” not “personal”.

        And she didn’t “loss” anything–clearly, she’s lagging due to a lack of name recognition. Which means the only thing she needs to focus on at this point is raising more campaign cash–and spend it on promoting her candidacy and introducing herself to voters who’ve not heard of her previously.

        And by the way, we didn’t need anyone to witness anything Trump said because he’s many times publicly criticized in tasteless terms a number of brave, selfless U.S. vets–such as a true American HERO, John McCain–people who sacrificed their own lives and limbs in order to protect America.

        Meanwhile, Trump is a draft dodger who avoided service by making up a medical condition.

      • Robert McDanner

        September 26, 2020 at 6:21 pm

        I am a 21 year active duty veteran and will be voting for Joe Biden and Pam Keith. Donald is a pustule on a greater infection in the U.S.

Comments are closed.


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