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To: Interested Parties
From: Shapiro Campaign for Congress
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2018
Subject: State of the Race – David Shapiro Campaign – Florida Congressional District 16

Tuesday’s results in HD 72 confirmed without a doubt that energy is building in Democrats’ favor in Florida – particularly in heavily suburban districts up and down the ballot. This isn’t a blip, Margaret Good’s victory of more than 7 points over the younger Mr. Buchanan is consistent with Annette Taddeo’s victory in the SD40 special election as well as State legislative swing districts across Virginia mere months ago. That’s a clear sign Vern Buchanan’s reelection is further at risk.

Florida’s HD 72 is a suburban and well-educated district, and falls almost completely in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, which is also more highly educated and suburban than the rest of the state.

Bottom line: By relevant measures, FL-16 is the face of the new swing district.

In November 2017, State Legislative races in Virginia provided a stark snapshot of the suburban shift reshaping the 2018 battlefield. On Tuesday, Margaret Good continued that trend by defeating James Buchanan in the special election for Florida House District 72. Good’s overwhelming victory came on the shoulders of unprecedented 36% turnout. For comparison, that’s approximately 19 points higher than a special election in 2014 that covered this same State House district.

But Good’s electoral victory goes a step further in terms of its implications for FL-16: in defeating the son of Vern Buchanan, Florida’s wealthiest Congressman, Good showed that the growing wave coming from the grassroots has the ability to overcome dynastic political families, as well as the threat of unlimited political spending.

In sharp contrast to previous posturing from Washington Republicans, Vern Buchanan woke up Wednesday in choppy political waters. Based on Tuesday’s results it is clear that the Buchanan name only gets you so far these days, as establishment Republicans in Washington continue to sink in popularity.


HD 72 makes up 21.6% of the 16th congressional district and is similar in partisan makeup to FL-16 as a whole. Where HD 72 saw a 12-point swing between 2016 and 2018, a similar swing in FL-16 puts Dave Shapiro in a strong position to win in November.

  Congressional District 16 State House District 72 Difference
Total Registration 552,015 122,615  
Democrat 32.1% 32.3% +0.2 pts
Independent 26.4% 25.6% -0.8 pts
Republican 41.5% 42.1% +0.6 pts

Beyond simple comparisons of party registration, FL-16 and the HD72 portion within FL-16 are comparable by educational achievement and socio-economic status. As a whole, FL-16 is more diverse than HD72. In a race that was understood well before election day as a referendum on the strength of Congressman Vern Buchanan’s brand, that similarity in makeup of the district, down to its core demographic features, starts to demonstrate that the problems James Buchanan faced in HD 72 will likely be reflected in Congressman Buchanan’s own race in FL-16 in November.
Grassroots energy is real, even in supposed Republican bastions like FL-16. Virginia’s House of Delegates, Missouri’s special election last week, and now HD72; enough said.
The Buchanan name may not be worth all that much, especially when it’s tied to an unpopular and out-of-touch agenda. The fact that James Buchanan couldn’t skate to a win in his dad’s own Congressional backyard is all the proof you need. In case you need more, however, take a minute to read this recent Miami Herald deep dive into how well Congressman Buchanan would do under his party’s tax bill: “Wealthy Florida Republican likely to benefit from estate tax repeal.”

Grassroots fundraising matters. Margaret Good outraised James Buchanan in the final days of the HD72 special election. In comparison to Good’s late surge, David Shapiro had already outraised Vern Buchanan after his first quarter as a Congressional candidate. And while James Buchanan was a new candidate riding his dad’s “coattails,” Vern Buchanan is a six-term Congressman who has spent the last decade ingratiating himself with the Washington special interests at the core of voters’ dissatisfaction with Washington. An even better sign for Shapiro, his over $250,000 raised in Q4 of 2017 came from nearly 590 individual contributions.

FL-16 is a race to watch [and it has been for a while]. In early February, even before Tuesday’s special election, the Cook Political Report shifted FL-16 towards the Democratic column. They highlighted both Shapiro’s strength as a well-known local attorney, and Buchanan’s past tight races in similar wave like years. Now that Dave Shapiro is off to a strong start and James Buchanan lost a race that he thought he was born into, look for FL-16 to garner even more national attention.

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