According to a recent poll Tom Bennett leads the pack in the 106th State Representative race. But, Josh Harms is nipping at his heels.
A poll done Jan. 26 by the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association Political Action Committee shows Bennett in the lead with 19 percent.
Harms holds second place in the poll with 18 percent.
The poll has a margin of error 3.2 to 3.8 percent accuracy.
“For me it is interesting to see that. We still have a long way to go,” Bennett said. “We will continue working hard and listening.”
Harms said in a press release, “As a candidate for the House of Representatives in the 106th district I was pleased to have received 18 percent of the vote and to be virtually tied with only one other candidate for first place.
“It is encouraging to my candidacy that the voters have placed me as a front runner in the five man race. I appreciate the support and will continue working to retain their trust and gain the confidence of the electorate in the primary election. Our campaign continues its commitment for a commonsense conservative approach to governance.”
The rest of the pack is as follows:
• Scott McCoy — 11 percent
• Brian Gabor — 4 percent
• Richard Thomas - 1 percent
• Undecided — 47 percent
McCoy said he found the numbers encouraging, especially the undecideds.
“With those percentages it says the people of the 106th District with five of us in the race and little media coverage are taking their time. That is responsible,” McCoy said. “I’m happy people are taking their time.”
Gabor said the numbers indicate to him he has more work ahead.
“It looks like I have more work to do,” Gabor said. “We are starting our final drive. We are going to be getting out in front of a lot more people.”
Gabor said he thinks the presidential races are what is drawing people’s attention.
“More people are focused on what Mitt (Romney) and Newt (Gingrich) are doing to each other than local races,” Gabor said. “It’s a soap opera and people watch that. It’s also indicitive, I think, of the fact none of us have spent any money on media. People probably don’t know a lot about us yet.”
Bill Christ, chairman of the Woodford County GOP Central Committee, said he thinks Bennett is the clear leader in the 106th State Representative race in Woodford County.
“They are all unknowns. This is virgin territory. I think though that Tom Bennett has worked it the hardest in Woodford County. He’s been in touch with me the most of any of the candidates. He’s probably got 90 percent of the signs here,” Christ said. “In Woodford County I’d bet he’s polling twice anyone else. I would tend to think he’s farther ahead here than what that poll indicates.”
Page 2 of 2 - Bennett said he was flattered by Christ’s comments.
“It’s nice to hear that. I just got to keep working.”
In another race of local interest Sen. Shane Cultra, R-53rd District, is 8 percentage points ahead of State Rep. Jason Barickman, R-105th District, in the race for the senate seat in the 53rd District.
The poll shows Cultra with 28 percent support, compared with Barickman’s 20 percent.
A majority of those polled, 52 percent, however, said they are undecided leaving this race very much up in the air.
Barickman said, "The only poll that matters is on election day. With almost half of the voters undecided, we're confident that as they learn about our message of bringing effective, conservative leadership to the Senate and helping our state create an atmosphere where business owners can create jobs they'll support our campaign."
John McGlasson, GOP chairman for the Livingston County Central Committee, said both races are up in the air in his view.
“So much of the focus has been on the presidential primaries many voters have not focused on the local races yet,” McGlasson said.
But, McGlasson said, that should change soon. There are only 48 days left until the primaries. McGlasson added the candidates are going to have to work hard to educate the voters on their views.
“The local forums are just starting. So far, a lot of the activity has been with Tea Party organizations, who are ahead of the public. The public at large, I believe, will very soon have an opportunity to learn more about the candidates.”
On the Cultra/Barickman race Christ gives the edge to Barickman in Woodford County.
“I would say in Woodford County Jason is running better. He has a committee working here,” Christ said. “I’d say Jason is going to run stronger in Woodford County.”
Cultra said McGlasson is right about people locally being distracted by the presidential primaries and the bickering they have entailed.
“Fifty-two percent undecided. That’s the race,” Cultra said. “I am a new name in this district. Only about 30 percent of my old house district is in this new senate district.”
Cultra also did not dispute the assessment of Christ in Woodford County.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt I have a lot of work to do in Woodford County. I am going to be going door-to-door. There’s work to be done in Woodford County.”