Good will challenge Buchanan in a Tampa Bay area congressional race next year

State Rep. Margaret Good Credit: Sarasota County Democratic Party

Democratic state Rep. Margaret Good announced Monday that she will challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in next year’s election.

Good faces a serious challenge in trying to unseat Buchanan, a seven-term congressional member and one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

A Sarasota lawyer, Good is currently serving as a state legislator. She won her seat in the Florida House of Representatives in a February 2018 special election, where she beat James Buchanan, the congressman’s son. She won re-election last November, beating former state Rep. Ray Pilon, a Republican.

“I first ran for office because our community has real issues that are not being addressed.  From water quality to public education to health care, we deserve better,” Good says in her written kickoff statement.

She wants Congress to “rise above divisive rhetoric.”

“To get the results we need, we must change the kind of people we send to Washington. We need a representative who will listen to people, work hard, and do the right thing, even when it means working with those you don’t always agree with or standing up to your own party,” her statement says.

JoAnne Devries, the Sarasota County Democratic Party chair, noted that Good won her special election in February 2018 by beating a Republican by seven percentage points in a “ruby-red district” that had supported GOP presidential candidates in the prior three elections.

“What helped Margaret Good win both her special election and re-election to the Florida House was a grassroots-driven field program and a first-class fundraising performance that met, understood, and listened to voters throughout her district,” Devries said in a written statement. “I’m confident she will bring the same tenacity to this congressional campaign.”

However, the voting district for Good’s current state House seat, which includes a portion of Sarasota County, is friendlier to Democrats than Buchanan’s Republican-heavy district, which includes all of Manatee County and portions of Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.

Political consultant Matthew Isbell looked at voting history in the state House district and in the Congressional district.

Republican candidates U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis carried Good’s House district seat by less than 1 percent of the vote last year. Scott and DeSantis won the Congressional district by about 8 percentage points in last year’s election, Isbell’s analysis shows.

 

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