But before Shapiro can take on Buchanan, he faces a primary contest that has presented some unexpected challenges.
Buchanan recognizes the threat Shapiro — who has raised more than $1 million for his campaign — poses and is putting money behind a television ad that slams the Democrat as a “hypocrite,” an early attack that some view as trying to influence the primary.
It’s an odd one-two combination against Shapiro, raising the question of whether Buchanan hopes to tarnish the Democrat enough with liberals that he fails to get out of the primary, or at least has to spend more money than he’d like.
While slamming Buchanan for meddling in the primary, Shapiro has nothing but kind words for Schneider as he seeks to tip toe past her on
“I’m respectful of Jan,” he said. “I certainly don’t take her for granted.”
Schneider — who is making her sixth run for
“It’s only going to be competitive if
Sitting at a coffee shop recently, Shapiro blasted Buchanan for what he views as the congressman’s efforts to undercut him with primary voters.
“To me it’s unbelievable that he would even get involved in a primary,” Shapiro said as he perched at a bar stool with the sleeves rolled up on his dress shirt. “Why would he want to meddle in a Democratic primary?”
Buchanan launched a six figure television ad buy recently that accuses Shapiro of being a “hypocrite” and “two-faced” for investing in gun, oil and drug companies while at the same time calling for gun control measures, an offshore oil drilling ban and stronger efforts to address the opioid crisis.
Shapiro noted that his gun stocks are owned through a fund that tracks the broader stock market and said his oil company stocks are relatively small investments that were purchased by his broker without his input. He said he is considering dumping the oil stocks but argued the whole issue is a “distraction” and hypocritical on Buchanan’s part because he owns mutual funds with some of the same stocks.
In going after Shapiro on guns, Buchanan may be trying to undermine his opponent’s credibility on an issue Shapiro has emphasized.
From campaigning with gun control activist
It’s an issue Shapiro says has been important to him “for many, many years.”
“As a father of children who went to school, I can’t even imagine at this point if my kids were that age sending them off to school and wondering if they’re going to get home alive,” Shapiro said. “That’s just unfathomable to me and it really hit home after Parkland.”
In addition to banning assault weapons, Shapiro wants to outlaw high-capacity magazines and institute universal background checks.
Strengthening the Affordable Care Act is another one of his main talking points, and an area where he and Schneider differ.
Schneider wants to stabilize the ACA but move toward a single payer healthcare system, something Shapiro views skeptically.
“The people of this district, I’m not sure they are really in favor of that,” he said.
Healthcare is the central issue of Schneider’s campaign and something she has emphasized for years.
A graduate of
“First of all — Medicare for all,” Schneider says when asked about her priorities. “Obamacare is too expensive, effectively gutted and falling apart.”
Schneider also has detailed policy positions on issues ranging from guns to the environment. Her biggest criticism of Shapiro is that he has offered few specific policy proposals.
“It’s like what do you take on?” she said. “At that level of abstraction… we agree.”
Schneider isn’t the only one criticizing Shapiro’s approach to policy questions.
“I do feel irritated that he hasn’t responded,” Klein said shortly before the campaign finally sent in the questionnaire.
Shapiro is on his third campaign manager and admits that the campaign has had some hiccups.
“I imagine every candidate has had issues,” Shapiro said of the personnel turnover, describing previous employees as falling short when it came to organization and communication.
“I really feel good about the team that we have in place now,” Shapiro added.
Shapiro released his first television ad last week as he seeks to boost his name recognition and overcome years of familiarity Democratic voters have with Schneider, who has been on the ballot many times.
Shapiro, 58, gained some attention when he narrowly lost a bid for the state House in 2006. And he has been on television in ads touting his law firm — Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh. But he still must introduce himself to many voters.
Schneider, 71, has been advertising on Facebook and said she plans to do a small amount on television.
Having run many times and lost, Schneider faces the hurdle of convincing
“It’s not all about money,” she said. “It’s not the best government money can buy. We are a people campaign.”
Shapiro, meanwhile, is fighting on two fronts as he tries to get past the primary while also keeping an eye on Buchanan.
“I’m campaigning really for both… because the issues are the same,” he said of the primary and general election.
“I think the important part… is to just get out there,” he said. “Let the voters know who you are and everything else will take its course.”
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