Staffers with Congressman Jon Runyan's re-election campaign touted an internal poll that gave the incumbent Republican a 16 point lead over Democratic challenger Shelley Adler, though the Adler campaign dismissed the poll as a "work of fiction."
The internal poll, conducted by private polling firm McLaughlin & Associates and released by the campaign Tuesday, shows Runyan topping Adler 51 percent to 34 percent, with Runyan receiving a quarter of the Democratic vote compared with Adler receiving just 8 percent of the Republican vote.
Runyan campaign spokesman Chris Russel said the congressman's support from several key labor unions helped boost his numbers with registered Democrats.
Adler's campaign disputed the poll.
"Those poll numbers are a work of fiction," Adler campaign spokesman Michael Muller told Patch.
Muller said the Adler campaign has not done any recent internal polling, but outside polls show the race is competitive and "we are within striking distance."
The national arm of the Democratic party identified the race as being potentially competitive early on, providing the Adler camp with an influx of funding through its "Red to Blue" program.
Adler recently began running television commercials themed around Runyan's former career as a professional football player. A new commercial titled "Free Agent" was released Tuesday, using the football theme to link Runyan to policies that lead to outsourcing.
Russel said in a statement that Adler's negative ads were "backfiring" and voters who counted "taxes, spending and debt" among their top issues favored the Republican by a 23 point margin.