Zach Dasher’s Happy Ad

Nobody really knows who’s going to win the race for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District in November – or, more to the point, in December, since the race will certainly go to a runoff.

It’s a wide-open field with no less than five viable or semi-viable Republican candidates – the embattled incumbent Vance McAllister, Dr. Ralph Abraham, Monroe-area businessmen Zach Dasher and Harris Brown, Alexandria attorney Ed Tarpley and public service commissioner Clyde Holloway. It seems likely that one of those candidates will end up in a runoff with the Democrat, Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo. But no one knows which one of those Republicans will pull off that feat.

When Holloway got in the race as a surprise qualifier last month, conventional wisdom seemed to shift toward the idea that the anti-McAllister Republican vote was going to be too splintered for any of the other five Republicans can push him out of the runoff. A recent poll by the Glascock Group, released yesterday, challenges that perception, however, as that poll has Abraham topping McAllister, 22 percent to 20 percent, with Mayo in third place at 15 percent. Brown comes in fourth with 11 percent, Holloway next with nine percent and Dasher trailing with 7 percent, just ahead of Tarpley’s 6 percent. Another 10 percent went to minor candidates in the race.

Glascock has been the primary source of polling on the race and he’s being criticized on a number of fronts. We’re told his poll badly undersamples black voters, for one thing, and for another he isn’t polling the Florida Parishes which make up the southern portion of the district. Further, Glascock hasn’t disclosed who’s paying for his polls – and that failure is suspicious to many. He’s saying it’s “a group of Baton Rouge lobbyists and Washington political bloggers” footing the bill, which is a bit shadowy. Refusing to release much information about crosstabs or methodology also doesn’t build credibility.

That said, none of the campaigns are releasing internal poll data and there isn’t any other independent polling on the race. Therefore, until some surfaces we’ll have to vacillate between seeing Glascock’s poll as a very rough guidepost and having no clue where the race actually stands.

In truth, at this stage it’s still anyone’s race to win. And because it’s anyone’s race, a good TV ad could be a difference-maker. Which is why the Dasher camp is shaking off the Glascock poll and touting the new spot they’ve put out this week presenting their candidate as an inspirational, optimistic leader.

It’s a good ad. Maybe it’ll work.

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