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Vern Buchanan sees brighter outlook in Tampa Bay Times, kind words in Tempo News U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan breathed a sigh of relief as the Tampa Bay Times moved him out of the “vulnerable” category. That happened just as a black community newspaper in the area hit stands praising Buchanan and calling Democratic challenger David Shapiro problematic.

The Times today issued new rankings on important Congressional contests in the 2018 election cycle. As of now, the newspaper lists six seats—all held by Republicans—as vulnerable to a flip.

Not among them, Buchanan’s 16th Congressional District.

“A string of recent polls has showed Buchanan ahead by a comfortable margin, including an 11-point margin in a University of North Florida poll,Louis Jacobsen writes.

Though Shapiro has shown considerable slippage in the polls, his chances on winning election according to political forecasting website FiveThirtyEight have remained relatively unchanged in the “Likely Republican” district. As of Monday, Shapiro had a 1 in 6 chance of flipping the seat with the projected vote working out to 53-37 percent, advantage Buchanan.

Shapiro racked up national endorsements and forward momentum as Buchanan came under scrutiny for buying a yacht as the tax cut bill passed. New national staff also flew to the Sarasota area district to aid Shapiro.

But last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign pulled significant ad buys in the region, and while officials there say they remain committed to Shapiro, the move undermined the challenger. The ads were pulled alongside Shapiros announcement that he had raised $1 million in the Q3, doubling up on Buchanan’s effort.

Notably, the Times endorsed Shapiro over Buchanan earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Republican was surprised with a front-page story in Tempo News, a black newspaper published in Sarasota and owned by Republican Johnny Hunter.

“The Vern Buchanan that is being demonized in television ads is not the Vern Buchanan I know,” reads an unsigned piece on Tempo above the fold. “The Vern Buchanan I know is a philanthropist.”

The paper praised Buchanan for elevating black managers at his car dealerships.

But the paper also dogged Shapiro over a controversy involving his son posting messages with the “n-word.”

“It’s true one can’t really blame all the actions of a son or daughter on the parent, but in reality, the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” the piece reads. “Is there positive history on the side of David Shapiro with the African American community? I can’t honestly say I know of any.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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