Bill Gunter holds significant lead in poll of House District 36 GOP primary

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Bill Gunter has taken a significant lead in the GOP primary of the special election in House District 36.

If the race were today, Gunter would walk away with an easy win with over half the vote.

Gunter, a Presbyterian minister for the Redeemer Community Church in New Port Richey, leads the pack with 52.4 percent of respondents. Pasco Republican Chairman Jim Mathieu received 12.6 percent; insurance company employee Jeromy Harding came in third with 8.5 percent, with 26.5 percent undecided. Gunter’s support is strongest with voters 50 years old and up.

The survey, conducted Aug. 28, asked 266 likely GOP Pasco County voters their preference in the race between the three. The winner in the Sept. 17 primary will go on to face Democrat Amanda Murphy on October 15.

The only responses counted in the results are those saying they would vote in the primary.

As for favorability among Pasco voters, Gunter also has the highest approval ratings of the Republican field, with 59.1 percent favorable versus 11.6 percent unfavorable; 29.3 percent were undecided.  

Mathieu, elected Pasco GOP chair in July, only had a 28.3 percent favorable rating among Republicans. His unfavorable numbers are 18.2 percent; 53.5 are unsure of their opinion.   

Name recognition may be an issue for Harding, with almost 62 percent of respondents unsure of how they feel about the first-time candidate.  Nearly 23 percent found him favorable and 15.4 percent unfavorable.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.