How Jesse Kelly costs Republicans Congressional District 8 (Again)
Recently, there was a press release from the Jesse Kelly campaign that showed the results of a polling survey that was conducted by TeleOpinion. While Kelly attempted to tout the poll as having overwhelming support, Kelly himself was only able to garner 35%. This is after Kelly had been the GOP nominee in 2010 and had several million dollars spent by both his campaign and independent expenditure groups on his behalf. Sure, he lost by about 4400 votes, but that was 2010 – the best Republican year in over a generation. Congressional District 8 by enrollment numbers, is a Republican district. While he was running against an entrenched Democrat incumbent, so were many other Republicans throughout the nation in 2010. A comparison of those races show that Jesse Kelly was the only Republican candidate to lose in a Republican district anywhere in the country in 2010.
In his present poll, Kelly’s level of support reveals that 65% of likely primary voters prefer either another candidate or are undecided about the race. This does not bode well for Jesse Kelly. In fact, given the dynamics of this race and the fact that Kelly had run for this very high-profile, high-dollar race before, Kelly has most likely peaked at this point and his poll numbers have nowhere to go but down.
How does Kelly try and remain competitive in this race? His only option is to go negative. Watch for Team Kelly to start launching negative (in many cases unsubstantiated) attacks against both State Senator Frank Antenori and Dave Sitton. Kelly will try to tear his opponents down because that’s his only option to move the needle.
Unfortunately, this will also have the effect of turning off many potential voters to Jesse Kelly and will further spirally his support numbers downward. The question that Jesse now has to answer is: Is he willing to mortally wound fellow Republicans that have an opportunity to win CD-8 back? Or, will he cost Republicans in Arizona and across the nation an additional seat in Congress by continuing a quixotic campaign?
Governor Brewer today proclaimed April 17th as the date for the special congressional election in District 8. Let the games begin!