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Write-in clear favorite in race for 6th District seat


Published: Wed, March 15, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


His Democratic challengers dismiss the poll's results.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A poll paid by Charlie Wilson's campaign shows that when Democratic voters know he is a write-in in the May primary for the 6th Congressional District seat, he is the clear favorite.
Bob Carr of Wellsville and John S. Luchansky of Boardman, the two Democratic candidates whose names will appear on the May 2 primary, dismiss the poll results.
Jason Burke, Wilson's congressional campaign manager, said the poll proves that even as a write-in candidate, the state senator from St. Clairsville is the Democratic front-runner in the 12-county congressional race. The district includes all of Columbiana County and a portion of Mahoning County.
Cooper & amp; Secrest Associates of Alexandria, Va., one of the nation's largest polling firms used by Democratic congressional candidates, conducted the telephone poll over three days: last Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The company called 505 likely Democratic primary voters in the 6th District. The poll's margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.
The numbers
The poll asked if Carr's and Luchansky's names are on the ballot with Wilson as a write-in, who would you vote for?
The results are Wilson with 50 percent, Carr with 7 percent, Luchansky with 2 percent and 41 percent undecided.
Alan Secrest, the polling firm's president and chief executive officer, gushes over Wilson in a letter about the poll results.
"Beloved where he is known, Charlie Wilson is the unmistakable preference of OH 6 likely Democratic primary voters," he wrote. "Voters make plain at multiple opportunities throughout the survey that they will happily write in his name."
Disqualified last month
Wilson was considered the leading Democratic candidate in the race but was disqualified last month for failing to get the required 50 valid signatures from registered voters on his nominating petitions. He opted to run as a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary.
After being disqualified, Wilson's campaign cleaned house, including firing his son, Jason, as campaign manager.
The poll asked participants if they recognized certain Democrats including Wilson, but not Carr or Luchansky. Fifty-six percent recognize Wilson's name with 76 percent of those people having a positive view of him.
"There isn't a negative thing about this poll," Burke said.
Numbers meaningless
Luchansky said the poll results are meaningless.
"These are the same people who said they were confident he'd get on the ballot," Carr added. "Consider the source."
Cooper & amp; Secrest conducted a poll in January of likely general election voters showing Wilson, D-30th, beating state Rep. Charles Blasdel of East Liverpool, the Republican favorite in this congressional race, 42 percent to 24 percent with 34 percent undecided. That poll was conducted when it was assumed Wilson would have his name on the Democratic primary ballot.
Wilson's insistence that he had enough valid signatures when elections board officials had told his son before the disqualification that he didn't have the needed 50 makes any statement from his campaign questionable, said Jessica Towhey, Blasdel's campaign spokeswoman.
"That certainly calls into question the legitimacy of these numbers," she said. Wilson's "embarrassing petition blunder sent his write-in campaign from riches to rags overnight."
Secrest wrote that "self-delusional Republicans should have their fun now."
skolnick@vindy.com


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