Buchanan, Steube Head to Congress, Good Holds on in State House

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY NOV 7, 2018

Whatever hopes existed for a blue wave heading into Election Day, any tide seemed elusive in Florida on Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota held onto his House seat in District 16, fending off a challenge by Democrat David Shapiro. The Sarasota Democrat performed well within Sarasota County, but Buchanan dominated the vote in Manatee county and held onto his seat with a comfortable lead. Ultimately, he claimed more than a 10-percent win, a larger margin than when Buchanan last faced a serious challenge from Democrat Keith Fitzgerald in 2012.

"I'm honored to be the people's voice in Congress for another two years," said Buchanan. "I will continue to fight for the issues this district cares about—protecting Medicare and Social Security, veterans benefits, confronting opioid abuse, stopping animal cruelty and preserving our pristine ocean and beaches."

State Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, won a full term in state House District 72, but by a surprisingly slim margin. She ultimately took just under 51 percent of the vote to Republican challenger Ray Pilon’s 49 percent, with a margin of victory under 1,200 votes. The race proved much tighter than when Good beat Republican James Buchanan in a special election in February.

“Thank you so much for all of your support,” Good tweeted. “It’s a Good day.”

Greg Steube coasted into a Congressional seat in District 17, where he will succeed retiring Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee. That means Sarasota will serve as home county to two members of Congress next session.

“I am humbled to announce, by God's grace and mercy, that I have been afforded the opportunity, thanks to you, to serve this district in the 116th United States Congress,” Steube wrote to supporters.

Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, won a promotion to state Senate in District, overcoming a challenge by Democrat Faith Olivia Babis, a disabled rights activist. Gruters ultimately took about 56 percent of the vote. Republicans also swept other House seats up for grabs, with Will Robinson beating Tracy Pratt in District 71, Tommy Gregory besting Liv Coleman in District 73 and James Buchanan, the same one defeated in February by Good, this time coming out ahead of Tony Mowry in District 74.

Sarasota County Commissioner Al Maio won re-election and Christian Ziegler won a seat on the board beside him. County voters also approved a bond for Legacy Trail, voted to reacquire Beach Road, and, in a move that will reshape commission elections, votes in favor of a switch to single-member districts. City voters in Sarasota elected to move their city races to an August-November cycle of even years. North Port kept Commissioner Jill Luke and elected Pete Emrich. But Venice voters apparently ousted Councilman Fred Fraise for Helen Kirchner Moore (though that margin of victory could trigger a recount).

In Manatee County, County Commissioner Carole Whitmore won re-election and will be joined by Misty Serve and Reggie Bellamy. School Board member Scott Hopes also held onto his seat, despite coming in second to challenger Joe Stokes in an August primary. In a shock upset, Bradenton City Councilman Bemis Smith lost to challenger Bill Sanders, while Patrick Roff kept his seat on that board. 

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