Good Challenges Buchanan, Triggers Campaign Shifts

Todays News


State Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, set up one of Florida’s top political battles of 2020 and set off some political dominoes on Monday.

Good announced she will challenge U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, in 2020, and spent Monday on a fundraising push. It’s a family rematch of sorts; Good won her state House seat in 2018 defeating James Buchanan, Vern’s son, in a special election.

“I know it’s not just the voters in my House district that deserve better representation,” Good said.

Buchanan, for his part, welcomed Good to the race. “Next year’s election is going to be pivotal to determine the direction of the country,” he said. “I look forward to being part of that discussion… A thoughtful discussion of the issues is always important for democracy.”

Buchanan last year won re-election to a seventh term after an expensive contest with Democrat David Shapiro. The Republican incumbent ultimately prevailed by 10 percent. But he now faces a Democrat who won re-election to her district, albeit by a smaller margin, in the same election.

Of course, Good’s entry into the Congressional race also means her departure from the already high-profile House race in state House District 72. There, she already faced two well-funded Republicans, Sarasota County Charter Review Board member Donna Barcomb and Naval Reserve Officer Fiona McFarland. Both had more than $40,000 in contributions raised already as of June’s end.

“It will be interesting to see who the Democrats recruit, but at the current time it’s a contest in the Republican primary,” Barcomb said.

Max Goodman, a spokesman for McFarland, who is on active deployment, said the focus of that campaign shifts little with Good’s exit. “Fiona’s mission remains the same,” he said. “She will continue to work every single day to earn the trust, respect and support of her community.”

Hours after Good announced her run for Congress, Sarasota attorney Drake Buckman announced he would file as a Democrat for the seat. His son, Trey, worked as a volunteer on Good’s state campaign.

Buckman, who will run on an environmental preservation platform, said he’s confident he can keep the seat. That’s despite the fact registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 11,000. 

“This is a district with a lot of common sense voters who are not driven by ideology,” Buckman said.

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