Internal poll shows Matt Willhite leading Palm Beach County Commission race

Rep. democrat. Matt Willhite holds a seven-point lead in the Palm Beach County Commission’s District 6 primary, according to a polling memo released Tuesday by his campaign.

According to the poll, conducted by SEA Polling and Design, Willhite advances by 22 points once voters receive more information about his background and that of other candidates. Both measures fall outside the poll’s margin of error.

Additionally, the poll found that 47% of voters were familiar with Willhite, matching the incumbent commissioner’s name identification score. Melissa McKinlaywho is leaving the seat after his current term.

“It’s clear that voters recognize my life of service to our country and our community and are thrilled to have a Palm Beach County Commissioner who puts public service above politics,” Willhite said.

Willhite, a U.S. Navy veteran and career firefighter, is completing his third term in the House. He previously served on the Wellington Village Council.

While eligible for an additional term in the House, he announced last year that he would not seek re-election to the House and would instead run for the Commission.

He faces Michelle McGovern and Slivia Sharps in the August 23 Democratic primary. Republican Sara Baxter is also a candidate for the seat and will likely face the Democratic nominee in the general election in November.

The high poll numbers follow contributions totaling $100,000 from professional firefighters/paramedics in Palm Beach County to its policy committee, Floridians for Public Safety. The union said this was an initial investment and that it planned to maintain its support for Willhite until November.

Going into May, Willhite had about $262,000 on hand in his committee and an additional $50,000 on hand in his official campaign account.

Willhite also recently submitted 1,724 qualifying petitions to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections in an effort to qualify for the ballot by petition rather than pay the fee.

“From his petitions to the polling data, it’s clear that Matt has the grassroots support and momentum he will need to win this race. We look forward to spreading Matt’s vision for Palm Beach County throughout the summer,” the Democratic consultant said. Michael Worleywho serves as a senior adviser for Willhite’s campaign.

The internal poll was conducted May 3-8 by SEA Polling and Design, a Tampa-based polling firm run by Tom Eldon. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.9 percentage points.

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