ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Democrats Jake Auchincloss and Jesse Mermell spent Sunday campaigning up and down the 4th Congressional District as a new poll showed the pair neck and neck in the crowded primary to replace Joe Kennedy.
Auchincloss, a Newton city councilor, and Mermell, a former Brookline Select Board member, are now widely viewed as the front-runners among the seven Democrats in the 4th District race. Also running are Newton City Councilor Becky Grossman, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, former Federal Reserve regulator Ihssane Leckey, epidemiologist Dr. Natalia Linos and Brookline attorney Ben Sigel.
All seven are stumping energetically for votes, but the new poll by the website Jewish Insider suggests Auchincloss and Mermell have pulled away from the pack. The survey of 497 likely primary voters, conducted last week, finds Auchincloss at 23% and Mermell at 22%, with Grossman in third place at 15%, Leckey at 11% and the others in single-digits. One in 10 voters was undecided.
“Voters are tuning in, and we’re getting the sense of strong momentum from voters I talk to around the South Coast,” Auchincloss told WPRI 12 on Sunday morning while visiting Attleboro. “People are really focused on making sure that our recovery from this crisis is one where no one gets left behind and we’re bringing back good jobs for the South Coast — that’s my focus.”
Mermell said the poll results reflect a surge of support for her campaign demonstrated by a growing number of endorsements, including from state Sen. Paul Feeney and state Rep. Jim Hawkins, both of whom joined her in Attleboro on Sunday.
“We’re seeing it on the ground,” Mermell told WPRI 12. “And I have to tell you, the momentum feels like it’s on our side.”
Grossman will be the next candidate to visit the South Coast, with an event scheduled for Monday morning at Al Mac’s Diner in Fall River. The iconic eatery is co-owned by one of Grossman’s supporters, Fall River City Council President Cliff Ponte.
Linos was in Taunton on Friday, followed by Fall River and Attleboro on Saturday. Khazei visited Attleboro and its surrounding suburbs on Saturday. Sigel has visited all 34 cities and towns in the district over the past five days.
The eventual Democratic nominee will face the winner of the Republican primary between Julie Hall and David Rosa in the November election. Kennedy first won the seat in 2012.
Watch this recent candidate forum hosted by Stonehill College and moderated by Ted Nesi.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook