Gray rakes in fundraising haul, releases polling; McGrath Campaign remains close in fundraising, offers their own poll

04/06/2018 12:16 PM

LEXINGTON — Democratic 6th Dist. Congressional candidate Jim Gray has brought in a significant first quarter fundraising haul, reporting more than $790,000 dollars for the first three months of the year. The campaign also released an internal polling memo which shows Gray leading by double digits in the final 7 weeks of campaigning. Meanwhile, the campaign of first-time candidate Amy McGrath is also releasing their fundraising report, and calling into question Gray’s chances to win in November.

Gray’s campaign has raised more than $1.13 million since the campaign began in December and reports more than $825,000 in cash on hand. More than 70 percent of Gray’s contributions have come from Kentuckians, the campaign said.

The Gray campaign also released an internal polling memo showing Gray leading Democratic opponents Amy McGrath and Reggie Thomas by 33 percent in a three-way race. The poll, conducted on March 3-6, showed Gray with 52 percent support among likely primary voters, compared to 19 percent for challenger Amy McGrath and 6 percent for state Sen. Reggie Thomas. Twenty-three percent of voters are undecided.

The poll was conducted by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman before either Gray or McGrath campaigns took to the airwaves, and sampled 400 likely voters in the 6th Congressional Dist. Interviews were conducted on cell phone and landlines, and carried a +/- 4.9 percent margin of error.

“I’m thrilled with what we are seeing both in these numbers and out on the campaign trail,” said Jamie Emmons, Gray’s campaign manager. “But we still have a lot of work to do to send Jim to Washington so he can fight for access to quality healthcare and affordable education.”

Download the polling memo here: polling memo.pdf

McGrath’s campaign manager, Mark Nickolas sought to liken their campaign to that of a once little known candidate in a 2010 Kentucky U.S. Senate GOP primary.

“In 2010, Trey Grayson had great early numbers against a little known Rand Paul as well. That’s why you have campaigns. We couldn’t be happier about the state of the race,” Nickolas said. “But more importantly for Democrats who care about winning in November, recently general election polling shows Amy outperforming Gray by 20 points in a general election matchup and that’s why you’re seeing Andy Barr constantly attacking Amy McGrath, never Jim Gray.”

McGrath’s campaign responded to Pure Politics’ request for their first quarter fundraising numbers, their unofficial tally before the filing deadline shows the former Marine Corps fighter pilot with $665,000 raised in the first Quarter of the year.

McGrath’s campaign has $625,000 in cash-on-hand, and has raised $1.8 million since entering the race last year, according to the campaign’s unofficial tally.

An internal polling memo from the McGrath campaign pollster Garin Hart Yang shows positive growth potential into November.

The poll conducted February 5-7, 2018 is a General Election match up. The survey was conducted among landline and cell phones, and has a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.

“Despite facing an understandable name recognition deficit (Amy has 45% name ID compared with 90% for Jim Gray, who has held elected office for more than a decade in the district’s largest jurisdiction AND ran for the US Senate in 2016), Amy already is in a very competitive position in a general election against Andy Barr. In the initial trial heat, Amy trails Barr by just 48% to 44%, which makes the race very competitive and is an encouraging result for a new candidate. Gray does slightly better in the initial trial heat (49% Gray, 47% Barr), but the fact that Amy basically is in a dead heat with Barr (within the margin of error) despite her LOWER name ID indicates her stronger potential.

In fact, the results of the initial trial heat among voters who currently recognize Amy and Jim Gray illustrate her vote growth. Among voters who recognize “Amy McGrath,” Amy is ahead of Andy Barr by 60% to 38%. Among voters who recognize “Jim Gray,” Gray is ahead by only 50% to 48%.

Download the McGrath campaign’s memo here: McGrath Poll memo2.pdf

Gray’s campaign manager sought to refute the McGrath polling numbers in a statement sent to Pure Politics.

“The fact that they aren’t releasing the primary poll they conducted last December tells you all you need to know. It is surprising, however, after spending a million dollars, they would push a poll that shows McGrath losing to Barr,” Emmons said.

“Despite their attempts to label Jim the “establishment” candidate, the truth is that Jim is winning because he is the local candidate,” Emmons continued. “He’s well-known, well-liked and has devoted his life to making Central Kentucky a better place to live and work. It’s disappointing to see constant attacks from the McGrath campaign at a time when Democrats need to be united in fighting for the American people against unprecedented threats from the other side. We hope the McGrath campaign will refrain from running a scorched-earth, negative campaign or more threats about running as an independent that only serve to benefit Andy Barr.”

Sen. Reggie Thomas , Theodore Green, Daniel Kemph, and Geoff Young are all vying also vying for the Democratic nomination on May 22.

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