Vern Buchanan’s Son Loses ‘Trump Country’ Florida House Race

Democrats laud win as another harbinger for November

Rep. Vern Buchanan’s son James was running for a Florida House seat vacated by another Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Vern Buchanan’s son on Tuesday lost a special election for a Florida state House seat in a race that attracted national attention.

Democrat Margaret Good defeated Republican James Buchanan by seven points, 52-45, in a state House district that broke strongly for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

“This win shows us that Floridians are rejecting the same tired rhetoric we saw with Donald Trump’s campaign, which was the same rhetoric Buchanan used to try and win,” the Florida Democratic Party said in a statement and on Twitter after the election. “This is a referendum on Trump and the GOP.”

State House race usually do not garner much of the national limelight. But Buchanan’s father is a six-term GOP congressman from Florida, and Democrats viewed the race as a sign of an imminent “blue wave” in midterm elections this November.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recorded a robocall for Good. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico at a campaign rally for Buchanan.

Despite Tuesday’s loss, the Florida GOP is still 3-1 in state special elections since Trump took office. Democrats, they say, should hold their horses.

“There’s a legitimate feeling on the side of the Democrats that they have an opportunity, that midterm elections generally provide an opportunity to the minority party. They also feel the polarization in the country, that they can capitalize on that,” Republican State Rep. Jose Oliva, who as incoming Florida House speaker coordinates the party’s House campaigns, told the Tampa Bay Times. “So far in Republican House seats in these special [elections], that hasn’t been the case. I think we’ll do fine for the general in November.”

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