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Poll shows Lamborn, Glenn leading GOP primary field in 5th congressional district

May 23, 2018 Updated: May 23, 2018 at 8:56 am
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Incumbent Doug Lamborn, left and Darryl Glenn, left, lead Owen Hill, center, in the 5th Congressional District Republican primary race.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn holds a 10-point lead over Darryl Glenn in the crowded 5th Congressional District Republican primary race just two weeks before mail ballots go out, says a new survey released Wednesday by GOP polling firm Magellan Strategies.

Lamborn, seeking his seventh term, tops the field of five Republicans, with 37 percent of likely primary voters picking the incumbent if the election were held today. Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner, follows with 27 percent, and state Sen. Owen Hill comes in third at 10 percent support.

Tyler Stevens, a former mayor of Green Mountain Falls, and Bill Rhea, a former Texas state judge, bring up the rear at 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

With 21 percent of voters undecided and both of the race's leaders enjoying high favorability ratings, pollster David Flaherty said the contest between Lamborn and Glenn - both of Colorado Springs - is "far from over" and could narrow in the five weeks until ballots are counted.

"At this time, the Republican primary election for the 5th Congressional District is a two-horse race with incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn currently having the inside track," Flaherty said in a memo accompanying the survey - the first publicly available poll in the congressional race.

"The candidates will continue to spend the bulk of their financial resources over the next several weeks making their best case to voters. A 5-point increase in support for Darryl Glenn combined with a 5-point decrease in support for Doug Lamborn will produce a very tight race."

The poll asked 591 likely GOP primary voters their opinion in automated telephone calls May 20 and 21. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent. The poll included registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters who say they intend to vote in the June 26 Republican primary.

Lamborn's political opponents waged a prolonged court battle this year that nearly kept him off the primary ballot. A Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Lamborn's nominating petitions didn't meet legal requirements, but Lamborn persuaded a federal judge to throw out the state law and restore him to the ballot.

The heavily Republican congressional district covers El Paso, Chaffee, Fremont and Teller counties and includes a portion of Park County. Democrat Stephany Rose Spaulding is her party's nominee for the seat.

Flaherty also asked 5th District voters to express a preference in the gubernatorial primary, although he cautioned that the results aren't necessarily representative of the statewide Republican primary electorate.

While a plurality of voters - 34 percent - remain undecided in the governor's race, the poll shows state Treasurer Walker Stapleton leading the pack with 32 percent support, ahead of Victor Mitchell at 18 percent. Doug Robinson and Greg Lopez trail with 8 percent apiece.

"In our view, the emergence of Victor Mitchell as the primary challenger to Walker Stapleton is obviously the biggest finding," Flaherty said.

The poll found that Lamborn holds leads in every category of GOP voters, from an 8-point lead among self-identified "Trump Republicans," a 13-point lead among evangelical Christians and a 20-point lead among voters who term themselves "traditional Republicans."

"Doug Lamborn's cross-over appeal among these relevant Republican primary voter subgroups is why he is so hard to defeat," Flaherty said.

Lamborn, who was first elected after narrowly winning a six-way primary in 2006, has faced a GOP challenger in all but one of his re-election bids.

Just over 50 percent of the poll respondents have a favorable opinion of the two front-runners, although more voters - 31 percent - have an unfavorable opinion of Lamborn than Glenn, who is viewed unfavorably by only 20 percent, the poll shows.

Hill suffers in comparison, with 55 percent of voters having no opinion or having never heard of the Colorado Springs lawmaker. Among those who have heard of him, 24 percent view him favorably, and 21 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

"If Owen Hill is going to be competitive in this election," Flaherty said, "these numbers need to improve significantly and quickly. With ballots being returned in just over two weeks, there is very little time to make that happen."

The survey was paid for by Magellan Strategies, Flaherty said. The Colorado-based firm hasn't been hired by any candidates or committees working in the 5th District or gubernatorial primary races.

Flaherty said he intends to poll 5th District Republican voters again before ballots are counted.

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