Cook shifts House race of lawmaker who bought multimillion dollar yacht away from GOP

Cook shifts House race of lawmaker who bought multimillion dollar yacht away from GOP
© Greg Nash

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has shifted its prediction for Rep. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE's (R-Fla.) congressional seat toward Democrats after a report that he bought a yacht on the same day the GOP's tax cuts passed the House.

Cook, a popular elections handicapper, shifted Buchanan's race from a "likely Republican" seat to a "lean Republican" seat on Friday. The analysts also moved four other congressional races in favor of Democrats. 

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Local media reports have publicized a new disclosure Buchanan made that shows a purchase from Ocean Alexander, a yacht company, of between $1 million and $5 million on the day of the vote.

Democrats have seized on the purchase as another avenue for attacks on the tax law, which they have framed as prioritizing the wealthy over middle-class Americans. Republicans bristle at that attack, pointing to economic growth and job creation numbers, along with that fact many Americans did see their taxes decrease. 

Max Goodman, Buchanan's campaign manager, blasted the report as a "coordinated attack four months before the election" in a statement to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

"Vern has owned boats for more than 20 years," Goodman added.

Buchanan has been in Congress since 2007.

Florida's primary day isn't until August, so it's unclear which Democrat will be running against Buchanan in the November midterm elections. Two attorneys, David Shapiro and Jan Schneider, are the front-runners on the Democratic side.

Along with Buchanan's race, Cook also shifted four other seats currently held by the GOP in favor of Democrats.

Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests Two lawmakers just debated the merits of Nickelback on the House floor House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R-Ill.) saw his race move from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican," while Reps. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) and Bruce PoliquinBruce Lee PoliquinThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Maine governor certifies Dem's win in disputed House race, but calls it 'stolen election' GOP lawmaker to drop challenge to Maine's new voting system MORE (R-Maine) are now rated as "toss ups."

The open seat being vacated by Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisRepublicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump Florida bill repealing ban on smokable medical marijuana headed to governor's desk GOP turns Venezuela into Florida attack line MORE (R-Fla), who is running for governor, was shifted from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican."