Parties Campaign for Support in Tandem

Todays News


Campaigns for Democratic U.S. House candidate David Shapiro and state Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, joined forces Saturday for a major canvassing event. The Republican Club of Sarasota announced an upcoming dinner hosting GOP state House candidates Ray Pilon, Will Robinson and Tommy Gregory.

A flurry of political activity this weekend shows not only that the general election season has started in earnest, but that both major political parties will rely on unity to carry the entire ticket forward.

“David Shapiro is proud to stand by somebody like Margaret Good, who has done a lot to fight for Florida’s families,” says Alex Vuskovic, campaign manager for Shapiro’s House campaign. 

The match makes sense in a lot of ways. Good already proved herself a vote-getter in a special election earlier this year when she beat Republican candidate James Buchanan. Now Shapiro hopes for a similar upset of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota and James’ father. “We defeated one,” Good jokes. “Why not the other?”

And in a year when Democrats hope unrest about Republican President Donald Trump drives more left-leaning voters to polls, candidates hope a vote for one Democrat will mean help for every other one on the ballot.

But Republicans know the power of teamwork as well, as demonstrated by the upcoming Republican Club event. Pilon, a former state Representative looking to defeat Good in November, says that’s just one gathering meant to bolster the broader GOP ticket. It’s not technically a fundraiser. “But I will make a strong ask,” Pilon says.

When the Republican Party of Florida hosts canvassing in his district, they will be promoting gubernatorial candidate Rick DeSantis, U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott and Pilon. During such events, Pilon says he will promote the ticket, “while at the same time emphasizing my District.”

Of course, there lies the tricky part of joint campaigning. Pilon suggests that Good tying herself so closely to Shapiro might excite the base, but may not play well with independent voters. Good says she’s not thinking about things that way and doesn’t fear the mudslinging of the congressional campaign touching her race. “We have been on the campaign trail together about a year now, and as it gets closer to November and momentum starts to build, this was an opportunity to bring a large group of Sarasotans together to talk about the issues,” she says.

Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party and a candidate for state Senate, says every candidate must strike a balance. Both parties will do all they can to charge up the base, while also making a case to the “20 percent that can go either way.”

“The battle is over independent and NPA (no-party affiliation) females, so that’s where all the money is going to be spent,” Gruters says. “But no side can win unless we turn out our voters.”

Photo courtesy Gabriel Hament: Margaret Good and David Shapiro

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