Republican and Libertarian candidates announce for Florida House District 72 seat

James Buchanan and Alison Foxall seek to replace Alex Miller, who has resigned effective Sept. 1

Alex Miller engages in debate on the House floor on April 5. Photo courtesy Florida House of Representatives

With state Rep. Alex Miller of Sarasota having announced her resignation from her District 72 seat, two contenders already have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring.

In her Aug. 24 letter to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, Miller made her resignation effective as of Sept. 1.

“It is with a heavy heart,” she wrote, that she was notifying him of her decision. “As a mother with two teenage boys who is the CEO of a rapidly growing business,” she continued, “I have come to the conclusion that I must spend more time at home than my service in the Legislature would allow.”

Miller, 44, is CEO of Mercedes Medical. The privately held “national medical distribution company” is a two-time winner of the Inc. 500 designation as One of America’s fastest growing companies, the Mercedes Medical website says. The company is planning to relocate to Lakewood Ranch’s new biotech business campus, known as CORE, the Bradenton Herald reported in late July. The company intends to build a $10-million, 55,000-square-foot office building and warehouse, the Herald said.

Miller was elected to the District 72 seat in November 2016, winning 58.06% of the vote in the race against Democratic candidate Edward James III of Sarasota.

During the Republican primary for the seat, Miller defeated John Hill of Sarasota, winning 59.53% of the vote.

On Aug. 25 — the day Miller’s resignation became public — James Buchanan, son of Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key, announced his intention to replace Miller. He already had filed to run for the District 71 seat in the 2018 regular election, according to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office’s records.

Listing a Longboat Key address, Buchanan filed for that seat on March 2. Since then, his campaign finance records show he has raised $163,130 and received in-kind contributions of $2,550. He has spent $15,317.63.

James Buchanan is the founder of his eponymous real estate firm, a news release says. The firm’s offices are on Longboat Key.

James Buchanan’s announcement notes his career in real estate and his educational background. News Leader image

A 20-year Florida resident, Buchanan is a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, the release notes. He received a dual degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Florida State University, the release says, and he earned an MBA from the University of South Florida.

“He has a true love and passion for helping people, especially in real estate,” the release adds.

On Aug. 27, a Libertarian candidate, Alison Foxall, announced her plan to run for the District 72 seat as well. A small business owner, she has lived in the district for nearly 25 years, her news release says. “She runs a company called Gobble Logic, a digital marketing agency,” the release notes.

Foxall received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in mass communications from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, the release adds. She is a graduate of Booker High School in Sarasota.

Alison Foxall. Photo courtesy of Alison Foxall

Additionally, Foxall is a member of Conscious Capitalism Florida, “a group that focuses on seeking out and connecting the role models of Florida’s conscious business community,” the news release continues. Foxall recently was elected to the Libertarian Party of Florida’s director at large position, the release adds, and she was a national field director for Gov. Gary Johnson and Gov. Bill Weld in their run for the White House in 2016.

During a discussion about 2018 legislative priorities on Aug. 30, Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert asked Robert Lewis, director of community and intergovernmental relations for the county, if he had heard anything about when Gov. Rick Scott planned to schedule the special election for the District 72 seat.

“We have not,” Lewis responded. “We will be watching for that in earnest,” he added, underscoring what he said he believed Detert’s concern was: “We are a delegation member down now.”

Lewis noted that the timing of the special election creates a “very tight window within which to work.”

Interim legislative committee meetings begin Oct. 9, Lewis pointed out, and they will continue periodically through early December. Because 2018 is an election year, the Legislature will convene on Jan. 9, 2018.

A map shows the boundaries of Florida District 72. Image courtesy State of Florida