A new Public Policy Poll has businessman Tim D'Annunzio trailing former sports caster Harold Johnson with a week to go until the Republican runoff in North Carolina.
The two are fighting it out to face Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) in November. Kissell, a first-term lawmaker, is a top GOP target this cycle.
After coming in a close second in the May 4 primary — D'Annunzio bested Johnson 37 percent to 33 percent — Johnson has now surged to a 49 percent to 39 percent lead according to the latest poll.
The poll showed Johnson has picked up the lion's share of the support from the Republican also-rans in the primary and that his standing among the district's voters has taken a serious hit. Just 44 percent of respondents said they think D'Annunzio is "fit to hold public office." That's compared to Johnson's 55 percent. And 41 percent of respondents said their opinion of D'Annunzio has become "more negative" over the last month.
D'Annunzio had strong backing from Tea Party leaders, but after allegations of prior drug use and past arrests came to light, that support largely disappeared with several local Tea Party leaders switching their allegiance to Johnson. Johnson is the favored candidate of the Republican Party and a member of the Young Guns fundraising program.
A Public Policy Poll out Tuesday also showed Kissell holds a stronger lead over D'Annunzio than Johnson in hypothetical matchups. Kissell leads Johnson 41-35 but he leads D'Annunzio 48-26.