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Republican

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R)

Vern Buchanan Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-5015

Address: 2104 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (941) 951-6643

Address: 111 South Orange Avenue, Sarasota FL 34236-5806

Bradenton FL

Phone: (941) 747-9081

Fax: (941) 748-1564

Address: 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton FL 34205-7801

Vern Buchanan Staff
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Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Bazell, Barbara
Constituent Services Representative
Bilyeu, Danny
Field Representative
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Gates, Jillian
Legislative Correspondent
Goodman, Max
Deputy Chief of Staff
Gruters, Sydney
Field Representative; Scheduler
Hansen, Joan
Office Manager; Caseworker
Karvelas, Dave
Chief of Staff
Richey, Hobey
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler
Tibbetts, Gary
Special Assistant; Law Enforcement Director
Tibbetts, Sally
District Director
Wise, Katie
Policy Director
Hansen, Joan
Office Manager; Caseworker
Karvelas, Dave
Chief of Staff
Goodman, Max
Deputy Chief of Staff
Tibbetts, Gary
Special Assistant; Law Enforcement Director
Tibbetts, Sally
District Director
Wise, Katie
Policy Director
Brady, Sean
Senior Legislative Assistant
Richey, Hobey
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler
Gates, Jillian
Legislative Correspondent
Hansen, Joan
Office Manager; Caseworker
Bazell, Barbara
Constituent Services Representative
Bilyeu, Danny
Field Representative
Gruters, Sydney
Field Representative; Scheduler
Gruters, Sydney
Field Representative; Scheduler
Richey, Hobey
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler
Tibbetts, Gary
Special Assistant; Law Enforcement Director
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Vern Buchanan Committees
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Vern Buchanan Biography
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  • Elected: 2006, 4th term.
  • District: Florida 16
  • Born: May. 08, 1951, Detroit, MI
  • Home: Longboat Key
  • Education:

    Cleary U., B.B.A. 1975, U. of Detroit, M.B.A. 1986

  • Professional Career:

    Taekwondo instructor, 1971-74; Marketing representative, Burroughs Corp., 1975-76; Founder, Vern Buchanan and Associates, 1976-78; Founder and CEO, American Speedy Printing Centers, 1976-92; Founder and chmn., Buchanan Automotive Group, 1992-2007; Founder and chmn., Buchanan Enterprises, 1992-2007.

  • Military Career:

    MI Air Natl. Guard, 1970-76.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Baptist

  • Family: Married (Sandy); 2 children

Vern Buchanan, a Republican first elected in 2006, is the survivor of a couple unusually tough reelection campaigns, but the pain has been mostly self-inflicted. His business dealings and campaign finances have attracted the notice of both federal investigators and Democratic challengers. Read More

Vern Buchanan, a Republican first elected in 2006, is the survivor of a couple unusually tough reelection campaigns, but the pain has been mostly self-inflicted. His business dealings and campaign finances have attracted the notice of both federal investigators and Democratic challengers.

Buchanan grew up outside of Detroit, the eldest of six children and the son of a factory foreman. He joined the Michigan Air National Guard and worked his way through college as a tae kwon do instructor. He earned a business degree at Cleary University and later an M.B.A. at the University of Detroit. Buchanan founded American Speedy Printing Centers and made his fortune by selling 700 quick-printing franchises before his 40th birthday. In 1990, he moved his family to Florida, where he found new success as an automobile dealer with franchises throughout the Southeast. Buchanan became active in Republican Party politics, serving as a top fundraiser for Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Mel Martinez. In 2002, he wanted to run for the 13th District House seat, but stepped aside for then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who had become a national figure for her role in the 2000 presidential vote recount.

Buchanan got his chance in 2006, when Harris ran for the Senate. His party connections and personal wealth made him the front-runner. In the primary, he stressed his conservative credentials and challenged his chief rival, former Sarasota Republican Party Chairman Tramm Hudson, for his positions on abortion rights and immigration. Hudson claimed that Buchanan resigned from his printing company just days before it declared bankruptcy. But Hudson stumbled when, in telling a story about his Army days, he asserted that black soldiers were poor swimmers. After spending more than $2 million of his own money, Buchanan won 32% victory in the five-way primary. But the bruising fight left Buchanan little time to recover before the general election.

The Democratic nominee was Christine Jennings, who like Buchanan, was a transplanted Midwesterner and a self-made business success. An Ohio native, she rose from bank teller to bank owner. National Democrats took an interest in the Jennings campaign and pummeled Buchanan through the fall for his business dealings. Buchanan responded by characterizing Jennings as a pro-tax liberal, a charge that was tough to stick on the former Republican with a banking background. Despite the Republican advantage in the district, Buchanan was hurt by the attacks and the poor political environment for Republicans. But he was able to spend over $8 million on his campaign, including $5.5 million of his own money. Jennings spent $3 million, about $2 million out of her own pocket. They made it the most expensive House race in 2006.

Buchanan prevailed on Election Day, but Democrats disputed the results for another year. After a recount, Republican election officials certified Buchanan the winner by 369 votes out of nearly 240,000 votes cast. Jennings filed a lawsuit alleging there a gross undercount due to voting machine malfunction, but several rounds of testing were inconclusive, and she dropped her lawsuit.

In the House, Buchanan softened his ideological positions. He was one of 19 Republicans who supported most of the Democrats’ early legislative agenda when they took control of the House in 2007. He voted for raising the minimum wage, cutting subsidies to industries, and allowing the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. “I ran as a conservative, but I also ran as someone who is going to be independent,” Buchanan told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. After the BP oil spill disaster in 2010, he pushed for a moratorium on all deep-water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. He took stances further to the right on immigration and terrorism, calling for an English official-language law and using military tribunals instead of civilian courts to try terrorist suspects. The former car dealer voted against the bailout of Detroit automakers in 2008 because, he said, the companies “failed to develop viable restructuring proposals.” The industry problems led him to sell several of his dealerships.

During the summer of 2011, Buchanan attracted unwanted attention. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that during the past year Buchanan had spent almost $1 million in campaign contributions on himself, companies he owned, or family members. Most of the money reportedly was used to repay campaign checks he wrote to himself in 2006. The article also said he rented campaign office space from his own company and put family members on his payroll. Buchanan had previously faced allegations that business partners and employees of his car dealerships made contributions to his 2006 and 2008 congressional campaigns, and were then reimbursed by Buchanan’s companies. He steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, and maintained that the Federal Elections Commission had exonerated him. But in December 2011, the Herald-Tribune unearthed FEC documents disputing that claim and reported that attorneys investigating the matter found Buchanan to be “less than forthright and at times unbelievable.” By 2012, both the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee were looking into Buchanan’s campaign-related activities. And Democrats blasted the National Republican Congressional Committee for keeping Buchanan on as finance chairman in 2012.

Buchanan has had ups and downs in his reelection campaigns as well. He beat Jennings in a rematch in 2008 that, although not as costly as the 2006 race, was similarly bitter, with a cross fire of accusations of business fraud, slander, and campaign finance violations. Buchanan emphasized his bipartisanship, and won 56%-37%. In 2010, he cruised to reelection over Democrat James Golden with more than two-thirds of the vote.

With ethics questions swirling in 2012, his House seat looked to be in jeopardy. His Democratic opponent, former state legislator Keith Fitzgerald, made Buchanan’s integrity the main focus of his campaign and launched a website called the Buchanan Files, with links to news stories on the investigations. Then over the summer, the ethics committee cleared Buchanan of wrongdoing, and in September, his office announced that the Justice Department had concluded its probe without charging him. But later that month, two of his associates pled guilty to illegally reimbursing employees who had made contributions to Buchanan. The congressman said he had no knowledge of the reimbursements.

Buchanan had an edge because of the Republican makeup of the district and he outraised Fitzgerald, $2.2 million to $1.4 million. Buchanan also attacked his opponent for helping direct $6 million to the New College, where Fitzgerald teaches. He prevailed, 54% to 46%.

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Vern Buchanan Election Results
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2012 General
Vernon Buchanan (R)
Votes: 187,147
Percent: 53.61%
Keith Fitzgerald (D)
Votes: 161,929
Percent: 46.39%
2012 Primary
Vernon Buchanan (R)
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (69%), 2008 (56%), 2006 (50%)
Vern Buchanan Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 35 (L) : 65 (C) 51 (L) : 48 (C) 49 (L) : 50 (C)
Social 16 (L) : 74 (C) 34 (L) : 64 (C) 37 (L) : 62 (C)
Foreign 48 (L) : 51 (C) 35 (L) : 59 (C) 14 (L) : 85 (C)
Composite 34.8 (L) : 65.2 (C) 41.5 (L) : 58.5 (C) 33.8 (L) : 66.2 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC90100
LCV2023
CFG6360
ITIC-100
NTU7372
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-0
ACU7276
ADA05
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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