NC Senate newcomer Van Duyn leads opponent by 15 points

06/20/2014 5:57 PM

06/20/2014 6:15 PM

One of the state’s newest senators, Democrat Terry Van Duyn, hasn’t been in office long enough to win many friends or enemies back home in Asheville.

A recent Public Policy Polling survey shows 65 percent aren’t sure if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her. But that’s better than her opponent in the November election, Republican Mark Craword: 72 percent said they weren’t sure what they thought about him.

But she’s in a strong position to retain her seat: Pollsters found 49 percent of respondents said they would vote for her, compared to 34 percent for Crawford. Seventeen percent were undecided.

Van Duyn was appointed on April 15 to fill the seat of veteran lawmaker Sen. Martin Nesbitt Jr., who died March 6, following a brief illness. Despite the number of respondents unsure what they think or her in the Senate, Van Duyn has been a prominent activist in Asheville, and was arrested during a Moral Monday protest in Raleigh last year.

Crawford, an instructor at Western Carolina University, is a former member of the state House – appointed to fill out a term – who told the Asheville Citizen-Times he is campaigning on tax reform and environmental protection. He says he disagrees with the General Assembly’s education spending priorities.

The PPP poll, which Van Duyn’s campaign commissioned, was a survey of 797 voters in Senate District 49 on Monday and Tuesday.

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