Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, finally put rumors to rest yesterday by confirming that he will not launch a campaign for U.S. Senate. In a statement sent out last night, the congressman said he feels he can have a “greater impact” as Florida’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Although I have been encouraged to run for U.S. Senate, I can have a greater impact serving people as Florida’s only member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, which will be deciding major issues such as tax reform, health care and international trade,” Buchanan said in his statement.
Though polls have suggested that Buchanan would be a competitive candidate, the congressman isn’t without some controversial baggage. Buchanan has long been plagued by rumors that he pressured employees to donate to his campaign, offering them reimbursements in return. Though most of the more than 14 lawsuits against him have been thrown out, his former business partner (along with a car dealership he once owned) were recently fined almost $68,000 for an “extensive and ongoing” campaign contribution scheme.