An internal analysis from the congressional campaign of Josh Lafazan showed that the Nassau County legislator is tied for the best chance to win the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic primary next month, but some opponents expressed concerns about the survey’s legitimacy.
Results from the analysis showed that Lafazan and former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman each had 20% of surveyed voters’ support. Great Neck businessman Robert Zimmerman was in third with 10% and other Democratic candidates Melanie D’Arrigo and Reema Rasool each had 4% of votes. A total of 43% of surveyed voters were undecided, according to the results.
The analysis was conducted by the Mellman Group, an organization that has advised political leaders, Fortune 500 groups, public interest organizations and government entities with opinion research and strategic advice for more than 30 years. A total of 400 primary voters throughout the state’s 3rd Congressional District were surveyed between June 12-16 through live phone interviews and cell surveys done online.
Candidate positive descriptions were also included in the survey, which led to Lafazan taking a 4% lead over Kaiman, 27%-23%, according to the results. Zimmerman received a 7% increase from voters while D’Arrigo received a 5% increase. The number of undecided voters went from 43% to 22% following the descriptions.
The analysis also showed that Kaiman had a 44% favorability rate, the highest among the Democratic candidates. Lafazan was in second with 35%, followed by Zimmerman with 31%, D’Arrigo with 27% and Rasool with 20%, according to the analysis.
Chaser Serota, Lafazan’s campaign manager, touted the resources the legislator has to not only win the Democratic primary in August, but the general election in November.
“The polling, as well as outside analysis, shows that Democrats in Nassau and Queens are connecting with Josh’s common-sense message on protecting a women’s right to choose, fighting to enact gun reforms, pushing back against the misguided ‘defund the police’ faction in the Democratic party, and lowering taxes,” Serota said in a statement.
Michael Bloomfield, executive vice president and managing director of the Mellman Group said Zimmerman “still lacks the kind of base support that Josh Lafazan has built over the years.”
FiveThirtyEight, an opinion poll analysis created and run by Nate Silver and an ABC News subsidiary, projects that Lafazan is “slightly favored” to defeat Republican George Santos in the 3rd District election. The analysis, which simulates the election 40,000 times, provided a sample of 100 outcomes based on incumbency, fundraising, endorsements, other polls and prior political experience. Lafazan defeated Santos 57 out of 100 times in the analysis.
Jason Kaplan, a spokesperson for Zimmerman, raised questions about the legitimacy of the analysis, saying the poll was “designed to show [Lafazan] as the front runner and ultimately mislead voters.”
Robert Zimmerman is the only candidate in the race with overwhelming support from labor groups like the AFL-CIO, Hillary Rodham Clinton, progressive activists, members of Congress, and local elected officials,” Kaplan continued. “Meanwhile, Josh Lafazan has a better conservative track record than some of his Republican colleagues in the county legislature.”
Kim Devlin, an advisor for Lafazan’s congressional campaign, said the legislator will not be concerned with others’ criticism for the polls and analysis and focus on the issues at hand.
“Some of our opponents can continue talking about their insider endorsements like they are the holy grail, but Josh will stick with his message of less guns, legal abortions, lower taxes and pushing back again ‘defund the police,’ which accounts for not only the Mellman Group poll showing him winning the Democratic primary, but also the highly-respected ABC News’ FiveThirtyEight projection that Lafazan will be the Democratic nominee,” Devlin said in a statement.
A statement from the D’Arrigo campaign said that, despite the analysis’ results, the momentum remains with their progressive candidate from Port Washington.
“We have the largest ground game, carry the most endorsements, and built the strongest coalition leading up to the election–from everyday folks across the district to national leaders and organizations,” according to the statement. “And we accomplished all this by running unabashedly on our values, not taking a single dime of corporate PAC money or allowing dark money interests to buy our stances. In short: We’re excited about the campaign we are running.”
Suozzi, the district incumbent who lost in the gubernatorial primary race to Gov. Kathy Hochul, has not disclosed what his plans are going forward. The congressional primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.
New district maps were submitted recently by a court-appointed “special master” and have been viewed as more neutral compared to ones that were previously rejected by a state appeals court..
While the 3rd Congressional District does not extend as far west as the Bronx or Westchester, it does stretch to more southern parts of Nassau County such as Hicksville and Massapequa. The new lines do exclude the parts of the district that now stretch into Suffolk County, mainly Huntington and Smithtown.