Poll shows John Rutherford is frontrunner in race to replace Ander Crenshaw

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It’s been about a week since U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw announced he would not seek re-election this November, setting off a scramble in northeast Florida to fill his congressional shoes. But in this brief time, former Sheriff John Rutherford has already emerged as the clear  frontrunner to succeed Crenshaw in Florida’s 4th Congressional District.

Rutherford captures 49 percent of the vote in a prospective GOP primary, according to a new survey commissioned by FloridaPolitics.com. State Rep. Lake Ray, who is exploring a bid for the seat, pulls down 13 percent, while state Rep. Jay Fant, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate, received 6 percent in the survey. Thirty-two percent of Republican voters are unsure.

Propelling Rutherford’s wide lead in this poll are high favorability ratings. Sixty-six percent of GOP primary voters have a favorable opinion of the former lawman, while just 14 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Fifty-five percent of Republicans don’t know enough about Ray to form an opinion, but his favorability/unfavorability rating is 27/18 percent. Fant’s favorability ratings are 20/17 percent.

CD 4 voters were asked who they supported in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who represents nearby CD 6, received 32 percent, followed by homebuilder Carlos Beruff at 9 percent, and U.S. Rep. David Jolly at 5 percent.

Donald Trump is the preferred Republican presidential nominee of fifty-five percent of CD 4 voters.

Voters polled were chosen at random from the registered voter population within the new boundaries of Florida’s 4th Congressional District. The random sample used was made up of a proportional sampling of registered Republican voters who voted in either the 2012 or 2014 GOP primary. Scientific results shown for the questions below have a sample size of 440 and a 4.7 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.