“Congressman Vern Buchanan has spent his political career saying whatever he needed to get elected, and then turning around using his office to enrich himself and his family. From spending campaign donations on his sister-in-law, to his votes to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, Buchanan is a politician who can’t be trusted. Margaret Good’s bipartisan record and work ethic make her exactly the right person to take on and beat Vern Buchanan.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Sarah Guggenheimer, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: August 18, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Congressman Vern Buchanan
Congressman Vern Buchanan has become everything that’s wrong with Washington. His duplicitousness and self-promotion, even during a global pandemic, have shown Florida voters that he can’t be trusted to look after their needs and their interests in Washington.
Buchanan has a long history of saying whatever he needs in Florida to get elected and turning around and doing something else in Washington. He promised to look after small businesses in Florida with PPP loans, then cut in line and profited off them himself. He promised to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, then voted to eliminate them. And he’s promised to take care of our environment, then voted to remove protections for Florida’s wetlands.
His commitment to the party line at the expense of his own constituents is exactly why voters are ready for a change. And Margaret Good is ready to provide it.
The daughter of a nurse and a pastor, Margaret learned from a young age that when you see a problem, you get to work and fix it, not complain. That’s what motivated her to first get involved in government, running and defeating Congressman Buchanan’s own son to win a competitive state house seat that sits entirely within Florida’s 16th Congressional District.
It’s that same work ethic and disinterest in playing political games that make her the right person to take on Buchanan and represent this district. And after outraising Buchanan repeatedly, Good has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
HEADLINE: Vern Buchanan’s car dealerships received up to $7 million in federal coronavirus aid [Tampa Bay Times, 7/6/20]
In previous years, Buchanan has been accused of using his congressional office to his benefit. A 2018 report by Capital & Main and MapLight, which tracks the nexus of money and politics, found that Buchanan’s multimillion-dollar yacht was financed with loans from a foreign bank looking to influence a tax bill that Buchanan helped author as head of the House Ways and Means tax policy subcommittee.
HEADLINE: Congressman Vern Buchanan’s car dealerships accepted millions in COVID-19 relief loans [Bradenton Herald, 7/8/20]
“But Good said she’s not just focused on a popular Democratic issue. She worked with Republican colleagues this year to bring red tide research funding to the region and hopes to achieve more this year in the Republican Legislature. Climate change, she said, threatens the tourism and beach economy in the region and the state as a whole.” [SRQ Magazine, 10/3/19]
HEADLINE: Margaret Good files universal gun background check bill [Herald Tribune, 10/25/19]
HEADLINE: ‘Laser-focused’ Rep. Good outraises Rep. Buchanan by $80k in first campaign filing [Bradenton Herald, 10/19/20]
HEADLINE: Political Insider: Margaret Good in elite fundraising company [Herald Tribune, 10/20/19]
Buchanan Says One Thing in Florida, and Does Another in Washington
BUCHANAN: ONE OF THE “MOST CORRUPT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS”
As families across Florida struggle with unemployment and look for economic relief, Congressman Vern Buchanan made sure they had to wait in line behind him.
Despite being one of the wealthiest members of Congress, Buchanan’s car dealerships received as much as $7 million from the federal PPP program. While small businesses in Sarasota and Bradenton struggled to get federal aid, Buchanan cut in line and got a loan in the earliest days of the program – after the Trump administration exempted members of Congress from going through a normally mandatory ethics review before getting a loan.
Then Buchanan worked to hide his loans from Suncoast voters – he voted against creating a Congressional panel to oversee the loans and skipped a vote that would have disclosed the funds that he received.
Buchanan’s willingness to benefit from this federal program while small businesses were forced to go without badly needed help show that he is more concerned with how he can profit from his position than he is with helping others.
Of course this can’t come as too much of a surprise given that the Department of Justice, the FBI, the FEC, and the House Ethics Committee have all investigated Buchanan’s shady campaign finance practices and alleged witness tampering. Buchanan has also used campaign funds to dole out nearly $250,000 to his companies and over $400,000 to his sister-in-law. It’s this type of behavior that led the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to name Buchanan one of “the most corrupt members of Congress.” Five times.
Margaret Good got involved in government to root out the very corruption and elitism that define Buchanan. She doesn’t accept corporate PAC money and supports term limits, because she’s not in this for anything but a desire to help her constituents.
BUCHANAN WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE HIS PARTY OVER THE DISTRICT
Floridians in the 16th Congressional District are sick and tired of typical petty politics that keep anything from getting done. That’s why Buchanan’s hyper-partisan record is so out of touch with his district.
For proof, one only needs to look at his record on the environment. Florida voters want a champion for the wetlands and protections for the state’s many fragile ecosystems. And while Buchanan may say the right things on the campaign trail, back in Washington he voted repeatedly to remove protections across the state, a move that could worsen red tide blooms.
This partisan betrayal of his constituents, despite his promises to protect the environment, stands in stark contrast to Good’s capable and proven record of working across the aisle for her constituents.
In the state government, Margaret has shown she’s a proven bipartisan leader. She worked with Republicans to protect small businesses and went against most of her party to support a program to help students access college.
That’s the dedication and bipartisanship Floridians in the district are looking for.
FLORIDIANS CAN’T AFFORD BUCHANAN’S HEALTH CARE AGENDA
Buchanan promised his constituents that he wouldn’t gut protections for pre-existing conditions. But his votes tell a different story: Buchanan has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that would eliminate protections for the pre-existing conditions he promised to protect. Buchanan also voted for a health care plan that would institute an “age tax” for this older Florida district.
But that’s not all. Buchanan has even voted to support the lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act – even during Florida’s devasting COVID-19 outbreak.
Margaret Good wants to improve protections and lower health care costs. And unlike Buchanan, who will say one thing in Florida and do something different in Washington, she can be trusted to keep her word.
PATH TO VICTORY
When Margaret Good ran for the State House, she went up against a wealthy, corrupt Buchanan who everyone assumed would win. Margaret Good won that race.
Now she’s up against another wealthy, corrupt Buchanan who has a well-established record of saying one thing in Florida and doing another in Washington.
Buchanan’s PPP loan scheme serves as a fresh reminder to voters that he’s in this job for himself and nothing more. And Good’s proven she can raise the resources she needs to win – outraising Buchanan in the pre-primary FEC reports and forcing Buchanan to loan himself money to keep up with her over the last two quarter.
Polling has consistently shown that Florida seniors are shifting away from Trump and Republicans en masse during COVID-19. And with Good’s bipartisan record and strong fundraising, Buchanan has never been more vulnerable.