Former President Donald Trump gave U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan a big boost Monday in his primary against Sarasota Republican Martin Hyde, who had been picking up momentum with support from prominent members of Trump's circle.
Trump endorsed Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, blunting Hyde's efforts to try to challenge the eight-term congressman from the right.
"Congressman Vern Buchanan is a terrific representative of the people of Florida," Trump said in the endorsement. "He is working hard to lower our Taxes, grow our Economy, support our Military and Vets, protect our Seniors, and defend our Second Amendment. Vern has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"
In case you missed it: Roger Stone and Michael Flynn backing Sarasota Republican's effort to unseat Vern Buchanan
Hyde has questioned Buchanan's conservative credentials. An endorsement from Trump will help Buchanan counter those criticisms, making Hyde's path more difficult.
Buchanan has supported Trump, but is not known as a MAGA stalwart.
The congressman has pitched himself in the past as an independent-minded elected official willing to work across the aisle. He opposed Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and voted to certify the Electoral College results showing Joe Biden defeated Trump.
Hyde also has emphasized Buchanan's willingness to support modest gun control measures.
“I am honored to have the endorsement of President Trump," Buchanan said in a statement. "I look forward to working with him to take back the House so we can put our economy back on track, get people back to work, and restore America’s greatness.”
President Donald J. Trump announces his endorsement of Congressman Vern Buchanan pic.twitter.com/jcASsQaY5E
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) December 20, 2021
Hyde recently hired Trump adviser Roger Stone as a campaign consultant and received the endorsement of Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser and a well-regarded figure among MAGA devotees.
Those moves created the impression that Hyde's campaign was gaining ground among the Trump base. Trump's endorsement of Buchanan is a huge setback for Hyde's campaign in District 16, which covers Manatee County and portions of Sarasota and Hillsborough counties..
Hyde reacted to the endorsement by saying he supports Trump but "now and then we all make poor choices."
"Advocating for Covid booster shots is a poor choice and so is supporting Vern Buchanan," Hyde said in a text message. Trump told a Dallas crowd Sunday that he received his booster shot.
"For now I'll keep at winning the endorsement of the voters of our district," Hyde continued.
Follow Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson on Twitter at @zacjanderson. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: US Rep. Vern Buchanan endorsed by Donald Trump in Florida congressional race