Are Wilson, Johnson tied?

On the side

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Statewide redistricting: Richard Gunther, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University and the author or editor of 14 books on political parties and the election process, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday on the statewide redistricting issue on the November ballot. The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown and is being held in Park Vista’s Gathering Room at 1216 Fifth Ave. in Youngstown. The public is invited to attend.

Rich pols: There are a couple of familiar names on Roll Call’s 50 Richest Members of Congress list. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler, Pa., R-3rd, who represents Mercer County, is No. 21 with $14.95 million in assets. Kelly owns three car dealerships in western Pennsylvania. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, is the 47th richest member of Congress with $6.72 million in assets.

A poll of the 6th Congressional District, paid by the campaign of Democratic challenger Charlie Wilson, shows the race to be a dead-heat.

The poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, a Democratic firm, has Wilson of St. Clairsville and freshman U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican from Marietta, tied at 46 percent with 8 percent undecided.

Any poll taken on behalf of a candidate should always be taken with a grain of salt, particularly when only partial results are provided, as is the case here.

But this race — a rematch of the 2010 election that saw Johnson defeat the two-term incumbent — is likely one of the most competitive in the country.

Johnson’s campaign is dismissing this survey as a push poll.

“It’s easy to manipulate a poll’s outcome by asking a series of negative questions about one candidate before asking the final ‘who are you voting for’ question,” said Mark Weaver, Johnson’s campaign spokesman.

He added: “Since the Wilson campaign refuses to release the entire survey, it’s a good bet that they are doing exactly that.”

In response, J.R. Starrett, Wilson’s campaign manager, said this isn’t a push poll.

“It’s a convenient answer for the very real problem that Johnson is falling behind in his bid for re-election,” he said.

The telephone poll was conducted between Sept. 9 and 12 of 500 likely voters in the new 6th District. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

The 8 percent in the poll that are undecided makes up 40 voters.

The Wilson campaign also provided the response to the question about which candidate those in the poll say will better protect Medicare.

In the poll, Wilson received 45 percent to 34 percent for Johnson.

Medicare is one of the key issues in this year’s election nationwide. With a large elderly population in the 6th District, this takes on greater importance.

The district includes all of Columbiana County and the southern portion of Mahoning County.

The poll shows that Johnson has “made an impact on the voters in the 6th District,” and it’s not a positive one, Starrett said.

‘Internal polling’

Johnson’s campaign has done “internal polling,” Weaver said.

But the campaign won’t release any of that information, Weaver said, because “anyone can cherrypick a slanted result out of a poll and try to trick voters with it.”

Starrett and Weaver also criticized each other’s candidate for votes on Obamacare, trade and outsourcing, to name a few.

Starrett added that Johnson “continues to mislead voters.” Weaver said Johnson’s campaign will “leave the deceptive tactics to Congressman Charlie Wilson.”

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