All eyes will be on Sarasota County on Tuesday night as Republican James Buchanan looks to keep a state House seat in the GOP column in a special election.
Buchanan, the son of Congressman Vern Buchanan, is locked in a close battle with Democrat Margaret Good. Democrats have high hopes for Good who has made progress in recent weeks. On Monday, Florida Politics reported that St. Pete Polls had a survey showing Good ahead 48 percent to 45 percent with Libertarian Alison Foxall pulling 3 percent. That’s a change from a January survey from St. Pete Polls which had Buchanan ahead by 3 percent. The poll shows Good has a solid lead with voters who have already cast their ballots but Buchanan is up with voters who plan to vote on Tuesday.
While flipping a state House seat isn’t going to put much of a dent in the GOP majority in Tallahassee, Democrats at the state and national levels are hopeful they can carry the district which usually trends Republican.
Democrats are looking to tie Buchanan to Donald Trump but the Republican is looking to tie himself to the president to fire up the GOP base. Earlier this week, Buchanan featured former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a campaign event. Buchanan also has featured campaign events repeating the “lock her up” chant used against Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
With Annette Taddeo, a perpetual candidate, flipping a state Senate seat from the GOP in a special election last year, Democrats are hoping to claim momentum in the Sunshine State with another win. There’s a lot up for grabs in Florida as the Democrats look to keep Bill Nelson in the Senate and win a gubernatorial race for the first time since 1994. They are also targeting congressional seats currently held by Republicans, namely those held by retiring Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Carlos Curbelo, in November. In the meantime, the GOP wants to short circuit any momentum the Democrats are gaining.
Whoever wins will be a backbencher though some legislators with additional experience have moved up the House ranks in recent years. But the stakes are much higher, especially as Florida is likely to retain its position as one of the nation’s chief political battlegrounds.