A poll done by state Sen. Tim Bee’s congressional campaign shows the Republican challenger just seven percentage points behind Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the race for Congressional District 8.
Margaret Kenski, the longtime local pollster who used to survey the district for former congressman Jim Kolbe (and who did the Tucson Weekly’s polls in CD8 in 2006), says the Bee campaign’s mid-May survey puts Bee “within striking distance” of Giffords.
Kenski says Giffords had the support of 47 percent of the 500 likely voters polled, while Bee had the support of 40 percent.
“As an incumbent, you’re not comfortable until you’re quite a bit past 50 percent,” Kenski says. “It’s competitive. It’s very competitive.”
Kenski’s 2006 polls never showed GOP nominee Randy Graf within single digits of Giffords.
Tom Dunn, spokesman for the Bee campaign, also announced that Bee had raised more than a half-million dollars at today’s fundraiser with President George W. Bush.
Giffords campaign manager Zach Wineburg declined to release any of the Democrat’s internal polling, but said that “poll numbers will go up and down” between now and Election Day.
“The race will be decided on the issue and Congresswoman Giffords has a track record of hard work and fighting for Southern Arizona and the issues that voters care about,” Wineburg said.
Wineburg added that the Giffords camp would be bringing Gov. Janet Napolitano to town on Monday, July 21, for a fundraiser at the Viscount Suites at 5 p.m. In contrast to the Bush event for the Bee campaign, tickets to the Napolitano fundraiser will be only $25.
“While Tim is bringing in an unpopular president, we’re bringing in a popular governor,” Wineburg said.