If Vern Buchanan’s previous Primary opponent was a tomato can, the new one is expired Spam
AUSTIN, MINNESOTA - JUNE 21, 2017: A display of Spam Cans at the Spam Museum. The space is dedicated to Spam, the canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation.

Spam Cans Display
Jason Edward Speir’s manifesto would make Laura Loomer and Anthony Sabatini blush.

Republicans (and Democrats) should know by now that facing U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is a losing battle.

That might be why anyone who tries to Primary him tends to be of a certain, er, variety.

Buchanan faced a Primary challenge in his last election, the 2022 Midterms, but walked to easy victory with more than 86% of the vote. The candidate then was Martin Hyde, a candidate whose only headline-grabbing moment was a display of arrogance during a traffic stop in which he threatened the officer’s job and, literally, asked if she knew who he was. My guess is she didn’t, and if she did, she probably wouldn’t care.

The last time Buchanan faced a challenge in the GOP Primary before that was in 2016 when he dispensed with James Satcher, a minister from Parrish who was later elected to the Manatee County Commission. Buchanan walked away with more than 80% of the vote in that race.

Enter this year’s challenger: Jason Edward Speir.

He joined the race with a lengthy manifesto blasting Buchanan and other “entrenched” members of the “corrupt political class” for “waging war against the traditional American family, against faith and our communities.”

Few would accuse Buchanan of waging war against “the traditional American family,” which no doubt Speir would define as marriage between only a man and a woman. And Speir doesn’t really, either. Instead, he claims Buchanan has been complacent in the “shocking erosion of our individual rights and liberties,” noting that “he appears to be more of a statesman for the status quo.”

While Speir’s ramblings may appeal to many on the far right — particularly his references to a weaponized justice system and the context that suggests strong support for former President Donald Trump — anytime a candidate enters a race with this type of long-winded announcement, it’s a sure bet the candidate is going to bring a whole lot of nothing to the table.

Speir will be Spam in both senses of the word — no one wants it at the dinner table, or in their Twitter feed.

Republicans, it seems, are already not amused.

Speir was one of the more controversial appointees Gov. Ron DeSantis selected to serve on the New College of Florida board of trustees. The Senate, with a supermajority since the 2022 Midterms, didn’t take up Speir’s confirmation to the board, despite approving six other appointments.

That could be because of Speir’s hard-line, uber-Christian tack on the board, which included calls for firing all faculty and an emphasis on spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ on campus, an obvious incursion on the separation of church and state.

Speir reminds me of a particular Saturday Night Live skit in which Kate McKinnon hilariously plays Jeff Sessions, emerging from a cabinet to urge failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to drop his bid. In it, McKinnon’s version of Sessions reminds that, “I am Alabama. But you sir, are too much Alabama.”

 

The voters of Florida’s 16th Congressional District have proven time and again that while they prefer a conservative representative in Congress, they’re not looking for “too much Alabama.” Buchanan has been that Representative.

We’ve seen this movie before and no matter how many times we re-watch it, the ending never changes.

Someone lines up to challenge Buchanan. Buchanan’s campaign, led by political henchman Max Goodman, sends them into political irrelevance.

The closest races Buchanan has faced since first being elected in 2006 were in 2018 and 2020, against David Shapiro and former state Rep. Margaret Good, respectively. Even in those, Buchanan won by more than 10 percentage points.

Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse is already pondering how Speir will compare to Hyde’s dismal performance last year — when Hyde pulled in less than 14% of the vote — tweeting a request for the “over/under” on next year’s spread compared to the 2022 Primary outcome.

Speir, not surprisingly, commented that he’ll take the under — meaning he thinks he can come out with a closer vote margin to Buchanan.

But if I were a betting man, I think I might have to go with the over.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 5, 2023 at 11:54 am

    Martin Hyde, LOL. That police officer pwned him so hard I bet his rear end still hurts, and she did it 100% professionally.

    Let me guess, Hyde and Rhonda golf together on LIV-PGA courses, don’t they? And I also bet State of Florida taxpayers pay for it.

Comments are closed.


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