Rick Wells latest Sheriff to endorse Vern Buchanan for re-election

vern buchanan ap
The Manatee Sheriff weighed in shortly after Chad Chronister also endorsed the Congressman.

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells is throwing his support behind U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s re-election campaign.

“Congressman Vern Buchanan is a fierce defender of local law enforcement and a fighter for the people of Manatee County,” Wells said. “I fully endorse his re-election campaign and look forward to working with him in the years ahead to keep our community safe.”

Wells, a Republican, came days after Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister also endorsed the incumbent. That means every Sheriff protecting Florida’s 16th Congressional District has now lined up behind Buchanan.

That comes as Buchanan faces a self-financed Republican Primary challenge this year from Inspiration Academy founder Eddie Speir. The Bradenton Republican qualified for the ballot this week, as did Democrat Jan Schneider.

Wells previously supported Buchanan in 2022, when he easily fended off a GOP challenge from Sarasota conservative activist Martin Hyde.

This year, Buchanan, the wealthiest U.S. Representative in Florida, has maintained a solid fundraising advantage over Speir. In the first quarter of 2024, the incumbent outraised his challenger 17-to-1.

St. Pete Polls also recently polled the race and found Buchanan trouncing Speir among likely Republican Primary voters in the district. The survey put Buchanan at 64% support, with Speir capturing just 13% support and 23% of voters undecided. Among voters older than 70, Buchanan leads 79% to 8%.

While Manatee County voters in recent years have shown a willingness to toss incumbents, that doesn’t appear to be the case here, with Buchanan quickly shoring up political support from all wings of the Republican Party in the region.

Most likely, the August GOP Primary will determine who represents CD 16 in the next Congress. Almost 54% of voters in the district supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Buchanan in 2022 defeated Hyde in a GOP Primary with more than 86% of the vote, and went on to beat Schneider with more than 62% support in the General Election.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


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  • Mike Tarter

    April 23, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    I would like to know Vern Buchanan’s position regarding gun rights, the second amendment and his standing with the NRA! I would also like to know if Sheriff Wells considers himself a constitutional sheriff that defends the second amendment rights of Manatee County citizens!

  • Mike Tarter

    April 23, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    I would like to know Vern Buchanan’s stance on the second amendment, citizens’ gun rights and how he is rated by the NRA! I would also like to know if Sheriff Wells is a constitutional sheriff prepared to defend second amendment rights of Manatee County residents!

Comments are closed.


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