Sarasota attorney Drake Buckman will run to succeed state Rep. Margaret Good in Florida House District 72.
The Sarasota attorney became the first Democrat to publicly announce he will file for the seat. “I’m going to run,” he said, “and I’m going to win.”
Meanwhile, two Republicans already planning to challenge Good — Donna Barcomb and Fiona McFarland — already boast tens of thousands of dollars, amassed in campaign coffers on the assumption Good would seek reelection.
Buckman said that’s not a concern.
“There’s tremendous interest in this race,” he said, “Contributions will happen locally from people who want to make sure this are remains well represented.”
The managing partner of Buckman & Buckman, Buckman boasts strong connections to the last Democrat to win District 72. His son, Trey, was among the first volunteers on Good’s state House campaign.
With his youngest now heading to college in Tallahassee, Buckman said he’s ready to run for office himself now.
“For the first time, I can devote my time and energy to represent constituents,” the 50-year-old said.
Buckman and wife Amy founded their family law firm in Sarasota 23 years ago, and he now has two daughters working there as well.
He also boasts a family lineage of advocates fighting for social justice. His father, Yardley Buckman, represented students fighting to desegregate Jacksonville’s schools in the early 1970s. He also worked on such issues as consolidating the City of Jacksonville and establishing the Legal Aid Society.
The elder Buckman, died, however, when Drake Buckman was 3 years old, so he learned of his father’s legacy reading landmark decisions.
“I was left raised by a single mother, who also made it clear to me how the citizens should interact with government,” he said. “Citizens are not only equal but leaders of the government.”
In his own practice, Buckman has represented a number personal injury and medical malpractice clients in court. He hopes court experience will be useful on the debate stage, and ultimately the House floor.
But this is no easy district. While held by a Democrat now, Good won the seat in a rare special election. Good won reelection in November, but by the smallest margin of victory for any successful Florida House Democrat.
Now that Good has elected to challenge U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for a seat in Congress, Buckman entered the state House.
Buckman will run without the benefit of incumbency.
He also jumps into the fray after two Republican candidates who intended to challenge Good.
The GOP Primary
That said, Barcomb acknowledges the campaign starts on the GOP side with a challenging primary.
“What I’ve learned with this race is that with every day, change comes,” she said.
She’s raised $47,665 toward the race since entering in January and thrown in $9,000 through a candidate loan. She’d intended to use that making the case Sarasota needed to shift from Good. “Now I need refocus.”
At McFarland’s camp, the message post Good was the same as when an incumbent was in the race.
Max Goodman, a campaign adviser speaking for the campaign while McFarland is on active duty deployment, said as much.
“Fiona’s mission remains the same,” Goodman said. “She will continue to work every single day to earn the trust, respect, and support of her community.”
McFarland entered the race more recently, but quickly raised $42,000 in donations to her campaign, plus $10,000 to a political committee. She loaned her campaign $20,000 as well.
More candidates to come?
Buckman, of course, starts at zero in mid-July, but there’s still more than a year before the primary even gets settled.
It may well be there’s more Democrats entering the fray as well.
Democratic names in the rumor mill include former Sarasota School Board candidate Nick Guy and former state House candidate Ed James III. Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody has also been discussed but told the Herald-Tribune he doesn’t plan to run.
There’s also efforts in some quarters to make sure a female runs for a seat now held by a woman. Former Sarasota Democratic Party chair Rita Ferrandino has been suggested.
Sources with the Florida House Victory Fund confirm multiple candidates have reached out about District 72.
Buckman welcomes all interested parties.
“I expect my Democratic brothers and sisters to run and want their voices to be heard,” he said.