The Republican combat veteran of Iraq and district attorney running in the June 2 special election for Mississippi-1 leads Democrat Walter Hunter Zinn Jr., 54 percent to 37 percent, according to a May 28 Townhall/Gravis poll of 509 likely voters.
Trent Kelly, a colonel in the Mississippi National Guard, is the choice for 77 percent of Tea Party voters and 69 percent of voters opposed to abortion rights, said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Insights, the Florida-based polling company that conducted the poll. The poll carries a 4 percent margin.
Among voters, living in households with at least one gun, Kelly leads 65 percent to Zinn’s 28 percent. But, in households without at least one gun, Zinn leads 58 percent to 30 percent.
The district includes Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and sits in the Mississippi River Delta. Kelly is the district attorney for Lee, Pontotoc, Alcorn, Monroe, Itawamba, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties.
Zinn is an attorney and political activist, who worked as a senior advisor to two mayors of Jackson and has campaigned for raise taxes for water and road infrastructure.
In his campaign biography, Zinn quotes William Faulkner: “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”
The special election was called by Mississippi Gov. D. Phillip Bryant after the Feb. 6 death of congressman P. Alan Nunnelle.
Kelly has received support from the congressman’s widow, Tori, and the colonel’s campaign manager Morgan Baldwin was a staffer for the congressman.
Brian Perry, a seasoned Mississippi Republican operative and consultant, said the poll results fit into how he has been seeing the race develop.