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« Strategy Memo: Breaking Now | Blog Home Page | NC Gov Is Race To Watch »

Parties Even In Walsh Seat

Despite starting late and facing a well-known challenger, a top Republican candidate in New York's Twenty-Fifth District is polling even, giving his party reason to hope that retiring Rep. Jim Walsh's seat isn't as good as gone just yet. The poll, released on Wednesday, came out the day before the Onondaga County GOP chose Dale Sweetland for the party endorsement.

Taken between 4/26-27 on Sweetland's behalf by Maxwell School Professor Jeff Stonecash, the survey quizzed 405 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Sweetland, the former Onondaga County Legislature chair, and 2006 Democratic nominee Dan Maffei were tested.

General Election Matchup
Maffei 37
Sweetland 36

Neither candidate is particularly well-known; just 28% rated Maffei favorably to 27% for Sweetland, and only 8% viewed the Democrat unfavorably, while 9% said they didn't favor the Republican candidate. Sweetland still has to get by Assemblyman Bob Oaks, a local official and a Ron Paul organizer to win the GOP line, while Maffei has avoided any serious challengers for the Democratic nomination.

The district, centered around Syracuse and Palmyra in upstate New York, narrowly re-elected Walsh over Maffei, giving the incumbent Republican just 3,000 more votes than the upstart challenger. This year, with the presidential contest expected to boost Democratic turnout still further, Maffei starts the race as the front-runner -- Walsh was one of just a handful of Republicans who represents a district that never voted for President Bush.

The Republican candidates have yet to file reports with the FEC, though Oaks says he will soon break the six-figure mark. Through the First Quarter, Maffei had raised $853,000 and kept $675,000 in the bank.