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Political Note #246   Margaret Good FL CD 16

2020                             General Election

Resist the false start. Don’t begin: Margaret the Good versus the Evil Billionaire. This is politics, not a comic book.

Margaret Good https://margaretgood.com/ has already defeated the son. In a special election in 2018, she defeated James Buchanan 52-47. She was reelected to FL HD 72 in November 51-49. This is a Republican district. 51-49.

Now she is targeting the father, the Congressman from Sarasota. Vern Buchanan is the 8th wealthiest Member of Congress. He didn’t inherit his money. He didn’t steal it. By the time he paid his fine for violating Michigan’s Corporation Act, $1.5 million was small potatoes. Initially, he bought into a printing business. He borrowed money and expanded the business with franchises. He borrowed a lot of money. The franchisees complained. They did not make the kind of money he had promised. He paid himself well, took the business into bankruptcy, and, of course, declined personal responsibility for corporate loans and obligations.   Real estate, car dealerships, extended warranties and reinsurance companies built a huge fortune from a large one. Those businesses also brought him partners and associates whose distrust led to lawsuits.

No matter how good his opponent is, Vern Buchanan is a tough man to beat. He won his first election in 2006 by .2% points. Since then, he has been reelected by margins ranging from 7 to 27 points. The last election was 9. Defeating an orange juice lobbyist.

Could he lose his hold on this 85% white district? The district is only moderately prosperous with a median income of less than $60,000. It has voted for Republican presidential candidates every year since 2000. A one term Democratic Congressman was elected in 2007. Earlier, the district had a Democrat from 1983 to 1993.

Florida’s 16th Congressional district has two small cities. Neither Sarasota nor Bradenton has more than 60,000 people. Sarasota is a tourist town. It has cultural attractions. Not necessarily high culture. Years ago, Sally Rand and Elvis performed there. Will Rogers and Tommy Dorsey, too. There is a great art museum in the old Ringling estate. It survived bankruptcy when it was turned over to Florida State University. Something of a circus, really. There is a museum for that, too.

Bradenton is no bigger. A business town. Tropicana’s headquarters until 2003. Pepsi bought Tropicana and moved the headquarters to Chicago. Not a lot good happened after the move. Real estate values dropped by a quarter in the recession of 2007/8.   Great sports town, though. Freddy Adu, Nick Bollettieri, many more. The IMG boarding school is there. Kids go to IMG with plans to be a professional athlete.

Does Margaret Good have a chance? She is from a multi-generation Florida family, but grew up in Georgia. Her dad was a traveling Episcopal priest; her mom a nurse. She is a lawyer. After graduating from the University of South Carolina and getting a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington, she went to the University of Florida Law School. Editor of the Law Review, she found her spot. Now she is a partner at Matthews Eastmoore in Sarasota. And, of course, she is a state representative.

Before the law firm, she did development for two different kinds of non-profits. The United Way with a goal to provide services to people. The Florida Agricultural Center and Horse Park with an economic development purpose for this area that grows oranges and has an internationally famous race track. Non-profit development is one route to political success. Successful politicians raise money.

Fundraising has been a specialty. Margaret Good chaired the endowment fund for the local Junior League. (Don’t scoff.). She outraised James Buchanan, despite his wealthy father, to win the special election that set her on her way.

Notwithstanding the Junior League connection, Margaret Good is not a genteel campaigner. James Buchanan complained. Her advertisements claimed he was a climate change denier. I’m not, he said – to little effect.

She is ambitious. She prefers moving her career along as a member of the majority in the US Congress to being a member of the minority in the Florida House of Representatives.

Margaret Good knows to focus on just a few issues. She has three. Make sure that everyone has health insurance, noting that two million people in Florida go without. Improve public education and take care of the environment that has become Florida’s enemy. She sees Florida as a state particularly susceptible to the changing climate. This is a campaign that will work in 2020 if Donald Trump erodes his popularity sufficiently to affect places like Sarasota and Bradenton.

Help Margaret Good https://margaretgood.com/ beat a very tough guy. She’ll need every dollar she can raise. Vern Buchanan will have every dollar that he needs in this campaign.

Don’t just help Margaret Good. There are important elections in the southeast in just a few days. Help the following candidates with some last minute money.


November 5

Kentucky      Governor                                          Andy Beshear

Kentucky      Secretary of State                          Heather French Henry

Kentucky     Attorney General                            Greg Stumbo

Mississippi  Governor                                           Jim Hood

Mississippi Attorney General                            Jennifer Riley Collins

Louisiana House and Senate                             Louisiana Democratic Party

                                                                                       DLCC or Daily Kos

Mississippi House and Senate                          Mississippi Democratic Party

                                                                                       DLCC or Daily Kos

Virginia House and Senate                                Virginia Democratic Party

                                                                                      DLCC or Daily Kos


November 12

Louisiana     Governor reelection                     John Bel Edwards