Hyde Challenges Buchanan in GOP Primary

Todays News

The lines aren’t even drawn yet on where U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, will be running in 2022. But he’s already drawing competition. And this cycle, the eight-term congressman’s most notable early competition comes from the right. Martin Hyde, a former Sarasota City Commission candidate and frequent gadfly, said this week he was filing to challenge the incumbent in the Republican primary.

“There’s no pulling back from here,” he said. “I said my goodbyes at City Hall.” Instead, he feels Washington calling, and senses voters in House District 16 crave a change.

What gives him certainty. Most recent was the reaction among gun rights advocates when Buchanan cast one of just eight Republican votes in favor of a universal background check passed this month in the U.S. House. That wasn’t a surprise and Buchanan voted for similar legislation two years ago as well. But that’s when there was a Republican president and Senate in place to stop legislation from going anywhere.

“It’s a step in the wrong direction and I remember the Dalai Lama saying every journey, even a long one, starts with a step,” Hyde said. “This isn’t really about arming psychopaths and criminals. They will always get their weapon of choice when they need it.”

Hyde suggests Buchanan’s past vote was one of utility, when he faced no GOP competition but was challenged by pro-gun control Democrat Margaret Good for his seat. Now, the incumbent will have to answer for the vote in a GOP primary.

But Hyde also questions a vote overruling former President Donald Trump’s budget veto last year, when the president wanted concerns about legal protections for social media addressed. Notably, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, sided with Trump on that issue. Hyde also questioned why Buchanan voted to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory despite allegations by Trump of election irregularities.

Hyde notably participated in protests of the electoral college certification on Jan. 6. Those protests devolved into riots in which five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed. Hyde did not participate in the violence.

Buchanan’s campaign suggests it’s still early to get worked up over a primary. “There will be plenty of time for campaigning next year after the new congressional districts are drawn, but right now Vern is focused on helping our veterans and seniors get their COVID vaccine and restoring jobs in our region,” said campaign spokeswoman Sally Dionne.

Two Democrats have taken steps to run. Jan Schneider, who has run for the seat multiple times, has filed as a candidate with the state and newcomer Benjamin Miranda-Padilla has opened a federal campaign account.

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