Democrat Randy Perkins and Republican Brian Mast are virtually tied in the nationally watched race for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional District 18 seat, according to a GOP poll.
Perkins gets 41 percent, Mast 40 percent and no party candidate Carla Spalding gets 6 percent in the survey by Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Fourteen percent of District 18 voters are undecided in the poll of 400 likely voters conducted Monday through Wednesday. The poll has a 4.9 percent margin of error.
Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by a 46-to-40 percent margin in the district, which Republican Mitt Romney narrowly won in 2012 while voters chose Democrat Patrick Murphy for the House seat. Murphy is giving up the seat to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
McLaughlin says in a polling memo that the results are good news for Mast because self-financer Perkins has already pumped $3.7 million into the race while Mast and his allies spent about $1.5 million. Perkins defeated two Democratic foes while Mast beat five Republican rivals in their Aug. 30 primaries.
Here&8217;s what was read to voters:
“Which candidate for Congress are you more likely to vote for? A decorated U.S. Army veteran who lost both of his legs serving on the frontlines as a bomb disposal expert. He was awarded The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. OR a businessman who came from humble beginnings, grew a small landscaping businesses and then built a business into one of the leading disaster recovery and cleanup companies in the nation.”
It&8217;s no wonder, then, that both the Mast campaign and the NRCC have begun airing ads this week that emphasize Mast&8217;s Army service.
Republicans have a 38.1-to-34.6 percent registration edge over Democrats in the District 18. In addition to favoring Democrat Murphy and Republican Romney in 2012, District 18 confirmed its swing district reputation in 2014 when voters re-elected Murphy by 19.6 points despite big GOP gains nationwide.