District 72 candidate's first mailer looks familiar.
Running for office as the son of a well-known politician can be a blessing and a curse.
Being the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan gives James Buchanan stronger name recognition as he seeks the District 72 state House seat covering much of northern Sarasota County. But it also opens Buchanan to criticism that he hasn’t earned the seat and is simply riding his father’s coattails.
Buchanan’s first mailer in the District 72 race hints at the pros and cons of having a congressman father.
Buchanan doesn’t mention his dad in the mailer, avoiding directly raising the legacy issue and the baggage that it brings. But he subtly reminds voters of his dad by mimicking his branding.
Vern Buchanan's past mailers and signs featured “Buchanan” in larger type and “Vern” in smaller type above the last name. There’s a star above the “h” in Buchanan with wavy lines coming out of it.
James Buchanan employs the same logo style in his first mailer, including a very similar font. The last name “Buchanan” also is emphasized in larger type with “James” in smaller type above. And there’s a star over the “h” in Buchanan with wavy lines coming out of it.
With the design, James Buchanan is indirectly invoking his father. Drawing that connection without being too explicit could help Buchanan appeal to his dad’s supporters without making it seem like he’s relying on his dad to round up votes.
It’s a balancing act. Kind of like Buchanan emphasizing his opposition to illegal immigration in his mailer but not directly mentioning President Donald Trump.
Trump won District 72 by five percentage points, but his support has slipped in Florida since the election. Buchanan is seizing on an issue that Trump used to fire up the Republican base without directly tying himself to Trump.
Buchanan is out early with his first mailer.
The two Democrats in the race – Siesta Key attorney Margaret Good and Sarasota staffing company owner Ruta Jouniari - are still battling each other in the run up to their Dec. 5 primary. The general election is Feb. 13.