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Formidable Democrat to Challenge Buchanan in 2018


BRADENTON – Local personal injury attorney David Shapiro announced this week that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 16th district, taking on incumbent Republican Vern Buchanan, who will run for a seventh-term.

Shapiro was once considered the rising star of Sarasota Democrats. When Republican Nancy Detert was term-limited out of Florida House District 70 in 2006, the seat was considered so safely red that it drew a four-candidate primary field who spent more money than any other primary race in the state vying for the party’s nomination.

Shapiro easily won the Democratic nomination and was pitted against Doug Holder in the general. Despite being outspent more than 3-1, Shapiro came up just 749 votes shy, with 65,000 votes cast, losing the race 51-49 percent. Local Democrats had high hopes for Shapiro, but while he remained active in the party in the years following the race, he didn’t throw his hat back into the ring until this week.

That same year, Buchanan also entered politics, seeking the Congressional seat being vacated by Katherine Harris. Buchanan bested a field of five Republicans in the primary (including Detert) before winning a close and controversial race with Democrat Christine Jennings, which featured an 18 percent under-vote. However, Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, easily vaunted Jennings in a rematch in 2008 and has remained bulletproof since, comfortably winning each race against mostly nominal competition.

Shapiro hopes that changes in 2018.

"For 32 years I have been fighting to protect my clients,“ said Shapiro. "And as I’ve watched Washington become more dysfunctional and divisive, it’s become clear no one is looking out for our interests. We can’t afford partisan gridlock driven by career politicians like Vern Buchanan. We need new leaders who will listen to our needs, fight for us, and be willing to work across the aisle to do what is best for our community.“

Shapiro is a graduate of the University of Florida with a law degree from Florida State, having practiced in Sarasota for 32 years. He says that if elected, he’ll be fighting for the little guy.

"No one who puts in a full day’s work should have to hold a second job just to earn enough money to feed their family and save for retirement,“ said Shapiro. "Republicans and Vern Buchanan have spent months trying to rip healthcare away from millions of Americans and roll back vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. We need to stop using healthcare as a potential weapon and make it affordable. Lives are at stake.“

The 16th Congressional district, which includes Manatee County as well as Parts of Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.


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