Gay congressional candidates Adam Ebbin and Mark Levine finished in fourth place and eighth place respectively in an unscientific straw poll conducted March 17 in a race in which 11 Democrats are competing in a June 10 primary for the 8th District U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).
Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, who’s considered the frontrunner in the race, finished first with 127 votes. Ebbin received 41 votes, with Levine receiving 22 votes.
The straw poll was conducted by the campaign of Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), whose 11th District boarders on the 8th District. Donald Brownlee, a Connolly campaign official, said the straw poll was taken at Connolly’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party in Fairfax just across the border from the 8th District. He said a majority of the attendees that participated in the poll are residents of the 8th District.
“We are neutral in the race,” he said of the 8th District contest. Connolly is running unopposed in the primary.
Beyer came in first place in another straw poll on March 1 conducted within the 8th District by the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee at the committee’s annual Mardi Gras party. Ebbin came in fifth and Levine came in 10th in that poll, which organizers also said was unscientific. Just over 400 people voted in the poll.
“Adam is proud of the support he’s gotten across the 8th District as the campaign continues to gain momentum,” said Michael Beckendorf, Ebbin’s campaign manager, who declined comment on the straw polls.
Levine said most straw polls are conducted at political fundraisers where people pay to attend, as was the case with the two straw polls for the 8th District congressional race.
“They are useful as good fundraisers,” he said. “But the only real poll will be the one on June 10.”