Date: November 7, 2012
by: Robin Hartill | City Editor


The elephants in the room liked their odds Tuesday night.

Hovering around two large screens Tuesday night at the Sarasota Hyatt, local Republicans stood nervously and cheered whenever news outlets called a state in favor of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

But they felt especially confident when it came to the race between U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald.

“He’s gonna win,” Longboat Key resident Alycia Craft said.

“He’ll probably win it by 2-1,” said Phyllis Black, president of the Republican Club of Longboat Key, whose husband, Jack, agreed.

“I’d rather be in Vern’s shoes than Keith Fitzgerald’s shoes, just like I’d rather be in Aaron Rodgers’ shoes than Michael Vick’s shoes,” Tom Reed said.

“No problem,” Lee Pokoik said. “The biggest problem was someone kept stealing my signs.”

Sure enough, Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, won his fourth term in the Nov. 6 election with 186,627 votes, or 53.6%, compared to Fitzgerald’s 161,257, or 46.4% votes.

As Sarasota County GOP Chairman Joe Gruters introduced each Republican candidate, the crowd cleared the way. But when Gruters introduced Buchanan, the crowd hovered close to the congressman, applauding him as he joined his family at the podium.

Buchanan reiterated many of the messages on which he campaigned:

He promised to focus on jobs and controlling spending.

“We need to balance our budget just like you do,” he said, drawing cheers.

The cheers grew louder when he talked about taking action against illegal immigration and loudest when he vowed to work toward repealing Obamacare.

“We can’t afford another billion-dollar boondoggle,” he said.

Buchanan was first elected to office in 2006 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

In 2010, Buchanan received 69% of the vote against then Democratic challenger James Golden, for the widest margin of victory in the district in the last 25 years. 

Fitzgerald is a New College political science professor who served two terms in the Florida State House from 2006 to 2010. 

“The things that make democracy work are the orderly transition of power and respect for the outcome of elections,” he said in a concession speech Tuesday night. “We owe it to our country to honor those traditions. I’d like to congratulate my opponent, Vern Buchanan, on his victory. This is what makes democracy work. It’s our obligation to respect the outcome of elections.”

Speaking of his next step, Fitzgerald said:

“I’ve been at this for seven years, and I think it’s time I take a timeout to spend more time with my family, who has suffered.”

On Longboat Key, voter turnout was 33.1% on Election Day, with 2,069 votes cast.

Click here for a graphic on how Longboat voted.



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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • The voters re-elected the president, but gave him nothing to help him break the deadlock in the US Congress'

    The republicans will not co-operate with the president unless the key issue is agreed to and that is to preserve a huge tax break for the rich. Which can only hurt the middle class.

    Like US Congressman Vern Buchanan of Sarasota Florida. The voters/consumers/public vote him back into office --- even though he has been involved in investigations by House ethics, Justice, IRS, FBI, for everything from tax fraud to campaign fraud. Friends and associates around him have been charged, fined and pleaded guilty of crimes.

    Where there is smoke fire will sooner rather than later break out. Do the voters in this part of the nation believe that people can change their strips, patterms or past practices. Like taking advantage of a charity like Habitat for Humanity.

    In addition Buchanan has been accused by former employees, partners, CFO, CPA's and consumers of everything from tax fraud to consumer fraud. Yet he is re-elected.

    If the country is put into a down fall then the only persons to blame is the voters themselves. If the middle class is destroyed then the only persons to blame is the voters. If net wealth in Sarasota decreases then blame yourselfs and not the democratics. Because be sured that Vern Buchanan's and his friends net wealth will not be effected.

    The voters have a house that needs painting. They have hired a painter to paint the house. What they did not do is buy any tools such as paint and brushes to paint with. So how is anything going to get done in a timely manner.

    So voters who have put persons like Vern Buchanan from Sarasota, Florida back into office to continue to make promises that he has not fulfilled, use his position for his and his rich friends benefit.

    Do not expect change. Get prepared for things to get worse. Sad part is it will not hurt the rich. They have the money to survive any down turn of the economy. It will hurt the average voter/consumer.
    Duane Overholt autofraudexpert.com Consumer Advocate
  • duane ovberholt
    Fri 16th Nov 2012
    at 6:05pm
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