A special election in Sarasota-area House District 72 is starting to get nasty, with still more than a month before voters go to the polls.
In the past week, the Republican Party of Florida began airing a commercial attacking Democrat Margaret Good, the Siesta Key-based attorney who won her Party’s primary last month.
Good is running against Republican James Buchanan; the special election is March 13.
The ad, a thirty-second verbal assault on the Democrat, begins with the narrator describing her as “liberal lawyer Margaret Good. Just plain bad.”
It goes on to say that, as an attorney, Good “defended allegations of fraud, negligence, Ponzi schemes, and financial mismanagement.”
Next, the spot says she “sides with liberals” in making Sarasota a “sanctuary city for illegal aliens,” and that she once tried to stop a Sarasota schoolteacher from earning a bonus.
The narrator concludes: “Defending fraud, negligence, Ponzi schemes. Liberal Lawyer Margaret Good — just plain bad.”
On Wednesday, Good’s campaign pushed back hard.
“This ad is 30 seconds of lies and is funded by special interests groups and insiders who want to continue business as usual in Tallahassee,” said Kevin Lata, Good’s campaign manager.
“Margaret Good will stand up for our community,” Lata said. “She will ensure everyone has affordable and accessible health care, invest in education, and protect our environment. It is time Buchanan Jr. man up and call on these special interests groups to take down their false advertisements.”
Lata also called on Buchanan to debate Good publicly “as opposed to hiding behind the special interests groups who are lying about her record and distorting those she has represented in court.”
For weeks, Good’s campaign has criticized Buchanan for his refusal to engage in a one-on-one debate for the special election.
The HD 72 seat was last held by Republican Alex Miller, who unexpectedly stepped down in early September, forcing a special election.
It is the 35-year-old Buchanan’s first run for political office. A real estate agent and broker in Sarasota, he initially filed a year ago to run in the nearby House District 71 race but transitioned to HD 72 after Miller announced she was stepping down from the seat.
He’s also the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.
James Buchanan did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
HD 72 covers all of Siesta Key, parts of Sarasota and western Sarasota County.