Margaret Good vs. James Buchanan: What you need to know about Tuesday’s House District 72 special election

The race, which has drawn national attention, marks the first special election of 2018.
Published Feb. 13, 2018

The old axiom has been flipped on its head. All politics is local politics? Nope. All politics is national.

Democrat Margaret Good, a lawyer from Sarasota, squares off against Republican James Buchanan — son of Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key — and Libertarian Alison Foxall in Tuesday's special election.

At stake is the House District 72 seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Alex Miller. But the national parties are treating the race like a referendum on progressive energy and President Donald Trump's leadership.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Good. Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's one-time campaign manager, has stumped for Buchanan.

The race has even seen some echoes of the contentious 2016 presidential race. According to Dave Weigel of the Washington Post, Buchanan supporters started a "lock her up" chant at a recent rally — a conservative anti-Hillary Clinton refrain.

Other 2018 Florida candidates have also gotten involved in the race. Democratic gubernatorial candidates Chris King and Andrew Gillum campaigned for Good over the weekend. Gov. Rick Scott, who's likely to seek Bill Nelson's U.S. Senate seat in 2018, has endorsed Buchanan.

There's a reason for all of that energy. The race promises to be a close one.  According to the most recent polling, Good and Buchanan are in a statistical dead heat.

That's a little surprising given the district's demographics.Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district by some 13,000 voters. Miller, a first-term representative who resigned the seat in August, won her 2016 race against Democrat Edward James by 16 points.

According to a Democratic Party memo, Republicans have a very slight 200 vote edge after early voting. Election day turnout will decide the race.

Polls close at 7 p.m. To find out whether you live in the district, check out this map.

Meanwhile, we political pundits will get to work on some hot takes.