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Mississippi Col. J. Trent Kelly while on deployment to Iraq. (Courtesy)

Mississippi poll: Kelly leads in special election to succeed Nunnelee

The Republican combat veteran of Iraq and district attorney running in the June 2 special election for Mississippi-1 leads Democrat Walter Hunter Zinn Jr., 54 percent to 37 percent, according to a May 28 Townhall/Gravis poll of 509 likely voters.

Trent Kelly is the choice 77 percent of Tea Party voters and 69 percent of voters opposed to abortion rights, said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Insights, the Florida-based polling company that conducted the poll. The poll carries a 4 percent margin.

Among voters, living in households with at least one gun, Kelly leads 65 percent to Zinn’s 28 percent. But, in households without at least one gun, Zinn leads 58 percent to 30 percent.

Watch this video of J. Trent Kelly

The district includes Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and sits in the Mississippi River Delta. Kelly is the district attorney for Lee, Pontotoc, Alcorn, Monroe, Itawamba, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties.

Zinn is an attorney and political activist, who worked as a senior advisor to two mayors of Jackson and has campaigned for raise taxes for water and road infrastructure.

In his campaign biography, Zinn quotes William Faulkner: “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”

Walter Howard Zinn Jr.

Walter Howard Zinn Jr. (Courtesy)

The special election was called by Mississippi Gov. D. Phillip Bryant after the Feb. 6 death of congressman P. Alan Nunnelle.

Kelly has received support from the congressman’s widow, Tori, and the colonel’s campaign manager Morgan Baldwin  was a staffer for the congressman.

Brian Perry, a seasoned Mississippi Republican operative and consultant, said the poll results fit into how he has been seeing the race develop.

“It is a Republican district, but there are many old-line Democrats there, who can make the it competitve, but Mr. Zinn has not been to make it competitive,” he said.

Perry said he would not place Kelly in a particular faction in the Mississippi Republican Party, which was wrought with a bitter Senate primary in 2104 between Sen. W. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Christopher B. McDaniel.

“I do not see him as an establishment or Tea Party candidate, he just ran on his record,” Perry said.

Watch this video of Walter Howard Zinn Jr.

“Kelly is a conservative Republican, who put together a good campaign,” he said. “Kelly’s district, where he is district attorney, covers about a third of the congressional district and he was very effective building a grassroots campaign from is his support from the National Guard across the state.”

Notes: Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm, conducted a random survey of 509 registered voters in Mississippi regarding the Special Election runoff for the U.S. House of Representatives. The poll has a margin of error of ± 4%, was conducted using IVR technology on May 28th, and the results were weighted by anticipated voting demographics.

A complete accounting of the results according to party, race, gender, age group, education category, and other demographic variables is available upon request.

If the special runoff election for US Representative were held today and the candidates were Republican Trent Kelly and Democrat Walter Zinn Jr, whom would you vote for?

What is your party affiliation?

Do you or anyone in your family own a gun or firearm?

Do you consider yourself to be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice when it comes to the question of whether or not abortion should be legal?

Do you consider yourself a member of the Tea Party?

Are you or is a member of your immediate family from a Latino, Hispanic or Spanish speaking background?

What race do you identify yourself as?

Which of the following best represents your religious affiliation?

What is the highest level of education have you completed?

How old are you?

What is your gender?