The good news is that the poll that shows him cutting his deficit with Rep. Bill Shuster in half. The bad news is that the gap between the candidates is still 26 points.
Halvorson, a retired Coast Guard Captain, is challenging incumbent Congressman Bill Shuster in the GOP primary to represent Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District. Halvorson is running as a Tea Party insurgent against Rep. Shuster, who he feels is insufficiently conservative.
The Gravis Marketing poll released by the challenger shows Shuster just under the magic 50% line for incumbents at 49.1%. Halvorson meanwhile took in 22.5% of support, but 28.4% of respondents remain unsure.
“We’re very pleased with the results, it shows we’re ahead of schedule with this race,” Art Halvorson told PoliticsPA. “The fact that Mr. Shuster is under 50% before Christmas, with all the the money he has spent on the race so far is a good sign.”
“His money is not able to overcome the fact that he’s not a conservative and he’s who he says he is,” Halvorson concluded. “Money can’t buy him love.”
The Shuster campaign responded in kind.
“Art Halvorson’s survey is as laughable as his attempt to move to Pennsylvania to buy a Congressional seat. A real poll would survey all of the candidates, including Travis Shooley. Survey after survey has consistently shown Congressman Shuster with a commanding lead in the primary,” Shuster campaign manager Sean Joyce said. “Pennsylvania voters will never believe Halvorson’s constant negative campaign which continually attempts to paint Congressman Shuster as something other than a proven conservative leader in Congress.”
The Halvorson campaign was quick to point out that an October Harper poll showed them down 52 points, meaning that they have cut their opponents lead in half in the two months since then.
Rep. Bill Shuster represents, PA-09 which consists of multiple counties along the southern border with Maryland between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The district is strongly Republican, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rating the district R+14. Therefore, the winner of the GOP primary would likely win the general election.