House races

Poll: Rep. Bera in dead heat with GOP challenger

A new Republican-commissioned poll indicates that Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and his GOP challenger, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, are effectively tied in one of this year’s most competitive House races.

The NMB Research poll provided to The Hill was commissioned by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership.

Jones leads Bera by a single point, 46 percent to 45 percent, which falls within the poll’s margin of error of 4.9 percent.

{mosads}The poll also found that Jones performs better than GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, who trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10 points among the district’s voters.

“If Jones can focus voters on making a choice between himself and Ami Bera, he’s got a decent shot of winning in November,” pollster Neil Newhouse wrote in a memo.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 9 to 11 among a sample of 400 registered voters in the Sacramento-area district.

The time frame of the poll fell a week before Bera’s father, Babulal Bera, was sentenced to a year in prison for illegally circumventing maximum donation limits for two of his son’s House campaigns by funneling donations through other people.

Babulal Bera pleaded guilty to persuading friends and family to donate maximum amounts to his son’s 2010 and 2012 campaigns and then personally reimbursing them. 

Ami Bera has said he did not know about his father’s actions, and prosecutors have found no evidence that Bera or his campaign had any knowledge of the fundraising scheme.

Bera very narrowly won the swing district in 2014, which wasn’t called in his favor until more than two weeks after Election Day. 

Earlier this week, the Congressional Leadership Fund announced plans to invest nearly $1.4 million in television advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in the district against Bera as part of its sweeping $10 million entry into general election spending.

Republicans have relatively few pick-up opportunities this election cycle since they are mostly on defense for their historic 247-seat House majority. A handful of districts controlled by Democrats are in play this year, including Bera’s and open seats in Florida, Arizona and New York.

Nonpartisan political prognosticators such as The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball currently rate Bera’s district as leaning Democratic.

Tags Ami Bera Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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