Libertarians See Hope in District 72 Race

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY AUG 29, 2017

While the governor has yet to set the date for a special election, a second candidate has already announced her intention to run for state House 72. And Libertarians say with the dynamic of an off-year race, this may be a rare chance for the party to win a seat. 

Alison Foxall, co-founder of Gobble Logic, announced on Sunday she would seek the seat being vacated by state Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota. She says she made the decision to run hours after hearing the news of Miller’s departure. “It’s a really good time to campaign,” she says, “to let people know your representative has stepped down and it’s a good time for any one of us to run.”

Libertarian party officials say the low turnout of a special election in a divided district presents a possibility to win the seat, especially if Democrats do not manage to get a candidate in the race. They note Foxall lives in the district and has strong history in the area. District 72 is home to just 389 registered Libertarians, and out of 123,821 registered voters, 31,541 are registered without a political party or with a third party, while 52,330 registered as Republican and 39,950 registered as Democrats.

So far, Republican James Buchanan, who previously planned to run in neighboring District 71 in 2018, has announced he also will run for Miller’s spot, and he already has more than $163,000 officially raised for the other contest that he can bring to this race. While Buchanan, the son of US Rep. Vern Buchanan, does not live in the district now, he’s allowed to run and move into the district to represent it if he wins. Democratic leaders have spoken with potential candidates for the seat but none have yet announced. Gov. Rick Scott still needs to call a special election to fill Miller’s seat, and some candidates have said they intend to wait for that to happen and assess the race based on the timing.

Foxall says she looks forward to running regardless of how many people enter the fray. A native of Sarasota, she graduated from Booker High School in 2006 and studied communications at International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, before getting into digital marketing professionally and founding her company with Matthew Wild in 2012. She became heavily involved in Libertarian politics around 2013, she said, and believes the platform will speak to voters in this area. “A Libertarian representative would be very strong on the fiscal side, even more than a Republican would, and strong on the personal freedom front, more than a Democrat,” she says.

In terms of issues, she says in the last session she’d have happily joined with Speaker Richard Corcoran in an attempt to defund the controversial Enterprise Florida, under fire for its business incentives program, and Visit Florida, the state’s de fact tourism bureau. “That’s not the necessary and proper role of government,” she says. But she’d also have fought the strict regulations passed governing medical marijuana dispensaries, citing the supermajority of Florida voters in 2016 who favored legalization of the drug for pharmaceutical purposes.

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