Dist. 26 race neck and neck

by Walter Pierce

Granger picks up LAE endorsement with election on tap Saturday. With the election for the vacant state Senate District 26 seat just four days away, a private poll commissioned recently by a Republican political action committee suggests it's anyone's race. Obtained this week by The Independent, the poll conducted Feb. 8-9 among 400 district voters by Gonzales-based Magellan Strategies on behalf of the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority finds Democrat Nathan Granger and Republican Jonathan Perry in a statistical dead heat - 37.1 percent favor Perry, 35.3 percent favor Granger, with 27.7 percent undecided. The poll has a 4.86-percent margin of error.

Granger, an Erath business owner and Vermilion Parish police juror, is making his first run for the Legislature. Perry, an attorney and Cajun comic, is in his first term as District 47 state representative and is a former Kaplan City Council member. The Magellan poll is the third survey of voters in Senate District 26, which covers about half of Vermilion Parish and parts of Acadia, Lafayette and St. Landry. Earlier polls conducted by the Granger and Perry campaigns showed the candidate commissioning the poll with a sizable lead over his opponent.

Also in the Magellan poll, Granger scored slightly higher positives and negatives from respondents: His total favorable rate was 49.8 percent to Perry's 46.7, while his total unfavorable rate was 6.2 percent to Perry's 5.2.

Also this week, the Louisiana Association of Educators announced it is endorsing Granger.

The special election, called after incumbent Nick Gautreaux resigned to take the post of commissioner of the state Office of Motor Vehicles, is Saturday.