Special election in HD 36 deadlocked at Bill Gunter 44%, Amanda Murphy 44%; Fasano endorsement would swing race

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Elections do not get much closer than the special election for House District 36.

According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls commissioned by this blog, the race is deadlocked with Republican Bill Gunter and Democrat Amanda Murphy both at 44% among likely voters. Twelve percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The poll has a larger-than-usual margin of error at 5.6% because of the small sample size available of voters who said they would cast a ballot in the October 15 special election. 

What would be a game-changer in the race would be for former state Representative turned Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano to endorse in the race. Fifty percent of likely voters said they would be more likely to support a candidate endorsed by Fasano, while 32% said they were unsure it would make a difference and 18% said they would be less likely to support a candidate backed by Fasano. If you do the math, Fasano’s endorsement is worth plus-32 points.

Fasano has stated he will not be endorsing Gunter or Murphy, although he has been increasingly critical of Gunter and supportive of Murphy, especially on Twitter. This blogger has speculated that Fasano might be setting himself up for a last-minute endorsement of Murphy

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.