Capitol Beat

Polling memo shows Stelson with 20-point lead in PA-10 Democratic primary

However, the poll shows that 31% of voters are still undecided.

A new poll in the 10th Congressional District Democratic primary race shows Janelle Stelson with a 20-point lead.

A new poll in the 10th Congressional District Democratic primary race shows Janelle Stelson with a 20-point lead. Janelle Stelson’s campaign

A new polling memo surveying the Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District shows former WGAL TV anchor Janelle Stelson with a significant lead in the five-way race for the nomination, with Stelson pulling in support from 36% of likely Democratic voters, City & State has learned.

According to the poll, which was commissioned by the Stelson campaign and surveyed 400 likely voters in the district from Feb. 26-28, Stelson has a 20-point lead over the next highest-polling candidate, Harrisburg City Councilmember Shamaine Daniels. Daniels received support from 16% of likely voters, while retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mike O’Brien came in at 9%. 

Former WITF executive Blake Lynch received support from 5% of voters, while Army veteran and educator Rick Coplen polled at 3%. 

Notably, the poll shows 31% of voters are still undecided about who to support in the Democratic primary with a little over a month to go before the state’s April 23 primary election. The poll has a sampling error of +/- 4.9%.

The memo, authored by Normington Petts partner Jill Normington, states that Stelson has a high level of name recognition in the district and that she could still expand her support as the primary race progresses. 

“She is by no means capped at her current level of support. In fact, balanced information from both Stelson and Mike O’Brien, the only other candidate with significant fiscal resources, increases Stelson’s support to 44% while O’Brien moves to just 18%,” the memo from Normington reads. “There is no realistic path for anyone other than Janelle Stelson to win the April 23 Democratic primary.”

According to reporting from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Stelson and O’Brien were the most prolific fundraisers in the 10th Congressional District during the fourth quarter of 2023, raising approximately $285,000 and $260,000, respectively. 

In December 2023, Cook Political Report changed its rating of the 10th Congressional District race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican” following Stelson’s entrance into the race. 

In a statement to City & State, Stelson said she was grateful for the support of voters in the 10th Congressional District and underscored her desire to defeat incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Perry in the fall.

“I’m fortunate to have met so many people in our area over the past 38 years, and grateful for such a resounding show of support for someone like me who has never run for office,” Stelson said. “I gave up my job on WGAL to run for Congress because it’s of national importance to defeat Congressman Perry and his radical agenda. These poll results bring us a step closer to getting the job done.”

City & State has reached to O’Brien’s campaign for comment on the poll’s findings. 

This story has been updated to clarify that Cook Political Report changed the rating for the entire 10th Congressional District race, not just the Democratic primary.

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