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February 20, 2018

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Democrats say Florida statehouse race a bellwether for US

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 | 11:09 a.m.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Democratic win in a Florida statehouse district that's firmly Republican is being called a bellwether for national politics, a referendum of sorts on President Donald Trump and his conservative agenda.

On Tuesday, in House District 72 — a district that encompasses the southern end of the city of Sarasota, a few smaller communities in Sarasota County and the upscale barrier island of Siesta Key — Democrat Margaret Good won by seven percentage points over Republican James Buchanan, the son of six-term Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. Good claimed 52.2 percent of the vote compared with 44.8 percent for Buchanan and 3 percent for Libertarian Alison Foxall.

Trump carried the district in 2016 by 4.4 percentage points.

This is the 36th Republican to Democrat switch in a state legislative race since the 2016 election.

The Republican Party blamed the loss on out-of-state money that poured into Good's campaign.

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