Dem challenger claims polling lead in SD-26 race

The campaign for Linda Newell, a Democrat who is running for office in a state Senate district south of Denver, released polling data Wednesday that depicts Newell with a 4-point lead over Republican challenger and former House member Lauri Clapp.

A poll of 400 likely voters in Senate District 26 showed that Newell was preferred 42 percent to 38 percent over Clapp, according to data that was compiled by Lauer Johnson Research, a firm that conducts polls for a number of Democrats, unions and charities.

The data are especially interesting considering the fact that Clapp should have more name recognition in the district than Newell, a business consultant and community volunteer who is running for public office for the first time.

Clapp, after all, has a long and controversial history as a city council woman and state lawmaker in the suburban Englewood and Littleton areas, where the Senate district is located.

During her House tenure, Clapp supported required placement of the Ten Commandments in public schools and restricting marriage to between a man and a woman only. She also supported a law requiring pregnant women to view ultrasound images of their fetuses before being allowed to get an abortion, a proposal that ultimately failed.

Voting numbers in the Senate district, including both active and inactive voters, are roughly 40 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 31 percent unaffiliated. The seat was vacated by Republican Sen. Steve Ward when he chose to run for an unsuccessful bid to replace Congressman Tom Tancredo.

The Clapp campaign has not yet returned a request for comment in response to the poll.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at