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Poll: Daniel Perez has 24-point lead over Jose Mallea in HD 116 race

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Daniel Perez has a big lead over Jose Mallea, at least according to one poll of House District 116 voters.

But the same survey shows more than half of Republican voters in the South Florida House district remain undecided with about one month to go before the special primary to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, who resigned his seat effective Sept. 26 to run in Senate District 40.

The poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates from June 13 to June 15 shows Perez with a 24-point lead over Mallea. The survey of 234 likely Republican special election voters was done by phone, and 62 percent of the interviews were conducted in Spanish.

According to a polling memo, 37 percent of respondents said they would vote for Perez, compared to 13 percent who picked Mallea. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they were still undecided.

The survey had a margin of error of 6.4 percent.

According to the memo, voters were “then given various statements about both candidates (positive and negative), which included topics such as personal backgrounds, issue positions, Gov. Jeb Bush’s endorsement of Jose Mallea and the reports about Perez and Mallea in regards to Cuba as published in the Miami Herald and Miami New Times.”

Once voters took that into account, pollsters wrote that Perez’s “24-point margin increases significantly, with voters selecting him with an outright majority of the vote (passes 50%).”

Perez, a political newcomer, has raised $83,450 in his bid to replace Diaz in House District 116. He the first week of June with $35,418 cash on hand.

By comparison, Mallea has raised $140,156 and ended the first week of June with $88,488 cash on hand. A long-time political operative, he’s also racked up a series of big name endorsements, including Bush and former House Speaker Will Weatherford.

The special primary is July 25, with the general election scheduled on Sept. 26.

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