With four months to go before the early August primary in Tennessee’s 8th district, farmer and gospel singer Stephen Fincher has a 23-point lead over his closest primary rival, according to an internal poll conducted April 5-6 for Fincher’s campaign.
The survey, which was provided to Roll Call by a source close to Fincher’s camp, showed Fincher at 40 percent, physician Ron Kirkland at 17 percent and Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn Jr. at 7 percent, with 32 percent of respondents undecided.
The poll of 401 likely Republican primary voters was conducted for Fincher by the Tarrance Group, and the margin of error was 5 points.
The poll was in the field four days after Fincher became the first candidate to go on the air with television ads in the district. Kirkland has yet to release any ads in the race, although his brother, Robert Kirkland, began running ads last week through an independent expenditure that promotes Ron Kirkland’s candidacy. Flinn will go up with his first ad in the race on Wednesday.
Fincher’s poll offers a few new numbers for race watchers to mull over in the high-profile primary in a district that will also be a battleground come November.
Flinn raised more than $250,000 during the first quarter, but that haul put him in a distant third compared with Kirkland, who will report more than $850,000 in receipts from January to March, and Fincher, who has raised more than $1 million since filing for the race last fall.
The winner will face state Sen. Roy Herron (D) — who had $1 million in the bank for his campaign as of March 31 — in the general election.