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District 72 House race receives national attention

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - Three candidates are fighting to represent District 72 in the Florida House of Representatives for just nine months, but even with the shorter term term, the special election is getting attention all across the country.

"They want to make their voice heard, and they want to have the opportunity to do so," explained Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner.

The 122,615 eligible voters in Florida's District 72 only makes up a fraction of the Suncoast but the special election for the House of Representatives is getting attention from county, state, and national leaders.

"There's some single focus to it," said Turner of the unique timing of the election. "It's not competing with anything else right now."

Democrat Margaret Good, Republican James Buchanan, and Libertarian Alison Foxall are all fighting for Alex Miller's seat in the state House after the lawmaker resigned in August. Now state and national politicians are stepping in. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced his endorsement for Good. Florida Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said they endorse Buchanan. Local newspaper "The Observer" announced its support and endorsement for Foxall.

Turner said that brings a lot of interest to the election.

"These special elections take on a certain type of focus because its the only ones to take on before you get to the regularly scheduled election," explained Turner.

New College of Florida Political Science professor Frank Alcock explained the race is in the spotlight because Buchanan is the son of U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan. He said that relationship could help or hurt Buchanan's campaign, and added Foxall's run could affect the election results in a meaningful way.

"If margaret good is able to pull off a victory I think you'll probably see certainly statewide, but even some national coverage," predicted Alcock.

Even after election day, the attention on the House District 72 seat is far from over. The winner will only serve a nine month term and won't get a chance to breathe before the general election in November.

"They'll get their feet wet, they'll have half a session to learn on the fight then right back into campaign mode," said Alcock.

"I often say its like a shampoo bottle, wash rinse repeat, wash rinse repeat, with these elections with us," said Turner.

Saturday is the final day of early voting. Registered voters can cast their ballots at one of three locations in the county: at the elections office, North Sarasota Library or Sarasota Square Mall. 31 polling locations will be open on Election Day on Tuesday from 7 am to 7 pm.