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Margaret Good

2020

Margaret Good campaign tries to conceal violation of election law

Campaign previously listed New Day Florida on a public service website as well.

A state political committee was listed on fliers promoting a teleconference town hall with Rep. Margaret Good. That support came despite the fact that the Sarasota Democrat is running for Congress, a federal office.

A disclaimer on a digital flier still visible on Google says the material was “Paid for by New Day Florida, Inc.”

That’s an electioneering committee, the same one the campaign claims was mistakenly listed on a website about coronavirus impacts in Good’s Sarasota district.

It’s not unusual for a candidate’s campaign to fund public service-style materials in times of crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak. State Rep. Dane Eagle, a Congressional candidate in a district, will have his campaign host a similar teleconference tonight.

The problem is that New Day Florida can only spend is resources on influencing state elections.

Nancy Watkins, a Republican treasurer in Florida not connected to any campaign in the district, said the committee would be fine funding such materials, which prominently feature Good’s name and face, if she were a federal candidate.

Incidentally, Good technically still is listed in the Division of Elections as a state candidate for her state House District 72. But she’s also a candidate for Congress, challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in Florida’s 16th Congressional District.

Another Democrat has already filed for her state House seat, and she has adamantly dismissed suggestions she return to the state race.

But the flier promoting her town hall event identified Good as a Florida State Representative representing District 72.

A state-issued Political Committee handout lays out pretty clearly that money raised in the committee can’t be used to help a federal campaign.

“A Florida political committee must use its funds solely for Florida political activities,” the handbook states.

The fliers promoting a March 20 town hall appeared prominently on Good’s social media in advance of the event, and a registration link still offers details about the discussion itself.

But those marketing materials promoting the event have disappeared from Good’s Facebook and Twitter, with Google searches now linking back to dead URLs.

The flier promotes a teleconference she held with Sarasota Department of Health director Chuck Henry.

Buchanan campaign manager Max Goodman offered no comment on the fliers or website.

Good campaign manager Kevin Lata said Tuesday evening the website incorrectly contained a disclaimer tying it to New Day Florida. The website now includes a disclaimer it was  “paid for and authorized by Margaret Good for Congress.”

“There was an issue with the web developer who made this,” Lata said.

He did not provide immediate comment on the flier or the scrubbing of images from Good’s social media. This story will be updated with comment once it is provided.

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 jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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