On eve of primary, GOP has strong shot to capture open Valley congressional seat, poll says.

New polling for the 13th Congressional District shows two clear-cut favorites to advance to the November election, with a Republican currently sitting in the lead.

John Duarte (R–Modesto) is the frontrunner in the race with 33 percent support, according to a poll from national firm Remington Research Group. 

Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced) figures to advance with Duarte as he comes closely behind with 30 percent of the ballot share.

With Rep. Josh Harder (D – Turlock) moving north to run for the 9th Congressional District, Gray entered the race in a district that gives Democrats a 7 percent edge in voter registration. 

But it appears that the race will be much more competitive than the district’s voter makeup. 

Phil Arballo (D–Fresno) placed third in the poll with 12 percent, while David Giglio (R–Madera) followed at 9 percent. Merced Republican picked up 4 percent of the ballot share, and the remaining 12 percent remained undecided.

The poll, released Tuesday, shows large gains for Duarte over the last two months. 

A poll from Remington Research Group at the end of March revealed that Duarte had 18 percent support, compared to 37 percent for Gray. 

Republicans hoping to pick up the open seat could be in for a favorable outcome in November, as President Joe Biden is seen as “unfavorable” by 52 percent of voters polled. 

Gray holds a higher favorability rating than Duarte – 35 percent compared to 28 percent, respectively. 

But Gray also racked up a 32 percent unfavorable rating, compared to 13 percent for Duarte. 

“John Duarte shows an extremely strong ballot share going into the primary election on June 7 with great momentum heading into the November general election. The respondents’ strong favorable ratings of Duarte compared to leading Democrat Adam Gray is extremely telling,” Remington Research Group wrote in the poll results. 

“Gray goes into the general election with a 1:1 favorable to unfavorable position – that is not what Democrats would want to see from someone who has represented parts of this district for a long time. 

“Further, Biden is extremely unpopular in this district and that is likely to make a significant difference with voters in the fall. Duarte’s background as a farmer and businessman is resonating with voters in the district, and he will continue to enjoy rising numbers as the election continues past next week.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.