New Poll: Cindy Gamrat Running Second in Special Election for 80th District

Disgraced ex-Representative trails past candidate Mary Whiteford, in statistical tie with Jim Storey

Contact:                                                                                                                                       Susan J. Demas, Inside Michigan Politics Publisher, 517-420-6779,       Ed Sarpolus, Target Insyght Executive Director, 517-927-9776, Joshua Pugh, Grassroots Midwest Director of Communications Strategy, 517-575-7180,                                           

According to a new poll released today by Grassroots Midwest, Inside Michigan Politics, and Target Insyght, former nurse and financial consulting firm co-founder Mary Whiteford has a commanding early lead in the special election in Michigan’s 80th House District to fill the vacant seat of ex-Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell). Whiteford holds the support of 31 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Gamrat is in second with 14 percent. Allegan County Commissioner and GOP operative Jim Storey is just behind Gamrat with 13 percent.

Interestingly, 18 percent of Republican primary voters would support the eventual Democratic nominee over Cindy Gamrat if she were to somehow sneak through the Republican primary field, while 61 percent would support another candidate or simply stay home rather than cast a general election vote for Gamrat to return her the state House.

Gamrat has a favorability rating of 19 percent. Asked what a proper punishment would have been for Gamrat's admitted inappropriate use of state resources, 22 percent said expulsion, and 49 percent said she should have resigned.

"The endorsements of the Great Lakes Education Project and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce have put Mary Whiteford in the catbird's seat headed into the final weeks of the election. For all the talk of a split in the Republican establishment, Jim Storey is still polling slightly below Cindy Gamrat," said Susan J. Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Michigan’s 80th District encompasses all of Allegan County, except three townships and the city of Wayland in the northwest. The district has a Republican base of 62 percent, according to Target Insyght data.

"The establishment strikes back as Whiteford and Storey have all the momentum rolling into the special election," said Brian Began, Elections & Research Director of Grassroots Midwest. "It doesn’t appear anyone is buying Gamrat’s victim act, and the force that was the Tea Party is no longer strong with her. Despite early fears that a comeback was possible, it appears those fears will not be realized, as Gamrat quickly fades into obscurity. Gamrat has become just another also-ran in this race. She may pop up from time to time in future debates, but her fifteen minutes is ultimately over."

"Much like Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat's constituents just plain don't like her," said Ed Sarpolus, Executive Director of Target Insyght. "There is a complete lack of sympathy among Republican primary voters for the alleged persecution Gamrat has been through. Gamrat is able to garner the support of a strong majority of the Republicans who say they like her -- there just aren't nearly enough of them."

This automated survey of 300 likely Republican primary voters in Michigan’s 80th state House district was taken October 6 - 8. The margin of error is 5.7 percent. Crosstabs and demographic data are available upon request.


IMP ( is the most nationally-cited political newsletter in Michigan and was founded by Bill Ballenger in 1987.

Grassroots Midwest ( is Michigan's first and only bipartisan grassroots advocacy firm. Our clients include corporations, associations, non-profits, labor unions, and political candidates, and we have a relentless focus on one outcome for our clients: winning.

Target Insyght ( is a strategic consulting, public opinion and market research firm created to offer its clients a full spectrum of professional capabilities.