Government

Finkenauer poll shows 20-point lead in Iowa 1st District primary

Winner will face Rod Blum

(File photo) Iowa state Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque announces her candidacy for the Democratic US House District 1 primary at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
(File photo) Iowa state Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque announces her candidacy for the Democratic US House District 1 primary at Paulson Electric in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — State Rep. Abby Finkenauer is leading her nearest rival for the Iowa 1st District Democratic primary field by more than 20 percentage points, according to a poll of likely primary voters.

“We’re feeling pretty good about it,” Finkenauer campaign manager Joe Farrell said about the poll that showed her with more support than her three rivals combined.

Her lead is well outside the 4.9 percent margin of error in the poll conducted by GBA, a Washington-based firm that polls for several members of Congress.

The poll commissioned by Finkenauer showed her with the support of 29 percent of those likely primary voters. George Ramsey III of Marion had the backing of 10 percent, followed by Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls at 8 percent and Courtney Rowe of Cedar Rapids at 7 percent. Finkenauer and Heckroth are the only candidates who have filed for office with the Iowa Secretary of State Office. The deadline in Friday.

That leaves 45 percent undecided in the poll conducted March 1-4 — three months before the June 5 primary election. That also was before Heckroth TV advertising.

The winner will face Rep. Rod Blum, a Dubuque Republican, who is seeking a third term in Congress.

“We’re glad Abby’s in a strong position in this poll, but we’re not taking our foot off the pedal,” Farrell said. “We’ve brought on field staff that is building volunteer teams within all 20 counties so we have the grass roots organization needed to win the primary and take on Rod Blum in November.”

Financially, she is well-positioned for the sprint to the primary having raise more than $610,900 to Heckroth’s $246,000.

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According to GBA, which made live calls to landlines and cellphones, Finkenauer’s support comes from across the district that includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Falls. She leads in every region of the district, with men and with women and among voters in every age group.

After hearing balanced statements about her and Heckroth, she maintained her advantage. Among voters who could identify Finkenauer, she led 62 percent to 11 percent. Among those who could identify Heckroth, Finkenauer led 39 percent to 25 percent.

Blum is a unifying force among the Democratic electorate, but not in a good way for him, according to the pollster. More than 90 percent can identify Blum and his favorable/unfavorable rating is 7/76, GBA said. That makes him nearly as disliked at President Donald Trump — 7/86 percent favorable/unfavorable.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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