Politics & Government

A new poll has good news for Democrat hoping to unseat Raleigh congressman

NC House District 20 candidate Linda Bennett, right, talks with 2nd Congressional District candidate Linda Coleman during a campaign stop at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Smithfield, N.C. on Thursday, August 16, 2018.
NC House District 20 candidate Linda Bennett, right, talks with 2nd Congressional District candidate Linda Coleman during a campaign stop at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Smithfield, N.C. on Thursday, August 16, 2018. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Republican Rep. George Holding’s campaign said last month that polling showed he was narrowly trailing in his re-election bid.

Now Democratic challenger Linda Coleman has a poll of her own with a similar finding.

A new poll, paid for by the Coleman campaign, shows Coleman leading Holding by a single percentage point, 45 percent to 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Jeff Matemu is polling at 5 percent and 6 percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll, which the campaign provided first to The News & Observer.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, was conducted between Aug. 23 and Aug. 27 and covered 401 likely voters in the 2nd Congressional District. The district covers parts or all of Wake, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Nash, and Wilson counties.

The poll has a 4.9 percent margin for error.

“It’s becoming clearer every day that voters in our district are tired of being ignored by George Holding,” Coleman said in a statement.

“The numbers show what we’ve known all along, that North Carolinians are looking for someone who will pay attention to our values, including better healthcare, better education, and better jobs. I know that if we keep reaching voters with our message, we can flip this seat in November and improve the quality of life for hardworking North Carolina families.”

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Holding, a former U.S. attorney, won his third term in Congress in 2016, defeating Democrat John P. McNeil by 13 percentage points. But he told supporters in a fundraising email last month that 2018 is a different environment as Democrats push for a wave election.

“We can’t judge what will happen this election by what happened in elections two or four or six years ago. The wind has changed. The ground beneath our feet has shifted,” Holding wrote.

Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner, has lost two bids for lieutenant governor to Dan Forest, including in 2016.

Holding holds an edge in fundraising, though an outside group has been running ads hitting Holding over health care.

With the race tightening, the district is getting more national attention in the battle to win control of the House.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, has opened a field office in the 2nd district to help Holding’s bid to hold the seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted the race as well. Emily’s List recently endorsed Coleman.

The race is still listed as “lean Republican” by the Cook Political Report.

Democrats need a net-gain of 23 seats to take control of the House.

Brian Murphy: 202.383.6089; Twitter: @MurphinDC
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