Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Mallett Prepared to Lead a Challenge

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Mallett Prepared to Lead a Challenge

Article excerpt

A Democrat who has dubbed himself the "practical liberal" is planning to challenge U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, for re-election to Congress.

Bradenton resident Mitch Mallett, who for nearly 8 years has been the host of a liberal AM radio talk show, said he plans to file to run for the 16th Congressional District, which includes all of Sarasota and most of Manatee County.

"I've been involved in politics for a long time," said Mallett, who has been involved with the Manatee Democratic Party since 2000. "I think I would be a good congressman."

Mallett, 57, said he has a good grasp of the issues and is convinced he can win voters over if he can get his message out.

One of his top issues Mallett said will be fighting for a higher minimum wage, which he said would reduce the need for working people to need food stamp programs to feed their families.

Mallett said he has filed his papers to run for the office, but the Federal Election Commission had not posted a statement of candidacy from Mallett as of Friday morning. A statement of candidacy and an official campaign account are required to run for federal office.

Mallett has never run for office before and will have a tough battle if he qualifies to run. Buchanan is a four-term incumbent who spent $2.6 million to win his re-election in 2012 against Sarasota Democrat Keith Fitzgerald.

The district Mallett is hoping to win is considered a Republican- leaning district because registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats. The 16th District has about 210,000 registered Republicans compared to about 155,000 Democrats. Another 100,000 are registered to vote with neither of the two major parties.

Mallett's "It's Your Gavel" radio show ran on Bradenton-based WWPR 1490 AM for years. Mallett now runs the show on the Web only at blogtalkradio.com.

Buchanan on budget negotiations

When a special committee of House and Senate officials begin meeting to hammer out a budget compromise, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is hoping they will all be open to public scrutiny.

Already, the first meeting scheduled for this week is set to be open to the media, but with no assurances other meetings will be, Buchanan is going public with his efforts to make sure the public gets a full airing of the negotiations.

"The critical decisions made by the budget conference committee should be conducted under the watchful eye of the American people," Buchanan said last week. "They deserve to know the severity of Washington's spending addiction."

In all, 28 House and Senate members were appointed to the special committee to hash out the budget deal. …

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