Poll: Bentivolio lags GOP challenger by 14 points

An internal poll from Republican Dave Trott's campaign shows the GOP challenger with a 14-point lead over Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.).

Trott leads Bentivolio by 33 to 19 percent heading into the Aug. 5 primary, according to the poll conducted by National Research Inc. and obtained by Inside Michigan Politics. This is an increase in support for Trott from a May poll that showed the candidates statistically tied, Trott with 22 percent and Bentivolio with 23 percent of the vote. 

The poll found that when voters who leaned toward one candidate were included Trott's lead grew slightly, with the attorney holding 39 percent to Bentivolio's 21 percent support. 

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Bentivolio is defending the seat he won in 2012 when former Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.) failed to qualify for the ballot, leaving the former Santa impersonator as the only Republican in the running.

Now, Bentivolio's reelection campaign appears to be suffering. The congressman's recent campaign manager quit at the end of May, and his 2012 campaign manager is suing him, claiming Bentivolio owes him more than $100,000 in unpaid salary.

Meanwhile, Trott has been consistently out-fundraising the congressman throughout the campaign and boasts the endorsements of several members of the Michigan delegation and influential establishment Republicans, including former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Chamber of Commerce. 

The live-operator poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters was conducted on June 23 and 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.