Congressional hopeful Ammar Campa-Najjar at a protest in January 2019 to end the government shutdown. Photo by Ken Stone

Ammar Campa-Najjar released poll results Wednesday showing the race tightening between him and former Rep. Darrell Issa in the 50th Congressional District in East County.

The poll conducted July 22-26 by Strategies 360 showed Republican Issa at 47% and Democrat Campa-Najjar at 43%, a difference within the 4-point margin of error. However, among voters who said they had already decided, the margin was just 44% to 42%.

“Though the CA-50 electorate maintains its Republican tilt (a 12-point GOP party registration advantage in this survey), Campa-Najjar outperforms the district’s partisanship handily and there are now signs that Joe Biden can do the same at the Presidential level,” the polling firm said in a statement.

The firm also concluded that “Issa’s negatives are already essentially as high as his positives, and Campa-Najjar’s personal ratings continue to outpace Issa’s.”

The sprawling district in east San Diego County has long been solidly conservative, with the Hunter family representing the area for nearly four decades before Rep. Duncan D. Hunter pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud and resigned. However, the makeup of the district is changing with suburban growth along the Interstate 15 and Interstate 8 corridors.

Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration official, lost to Hunter by just 3 points in 2018. Issa retired in 2018 after 18 years in Congress representing north coastal San Diego County, then announced his candidacy for the 50th District pending Hunter’s resignation.

Strategies 360 surveyed 400 likely 2020 voters using landlines, cell phones, and online interviews. By party registration, the sample was 31% Democratic, 43% Republican, and 26% no party preference or other parties.

The polling firm is headquartered in Seattle and has a San Diego office. The national political news site fivethirtyeight.com gives the firm a “B/C” rating, noting it has called 63% of races correctly and tends to slightly over-count Republicans.

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