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Broward commissioner jumps in Congressional race for Allen West's seat

Kristin Jacobs, viewed as one of the more liberal Democratic members of the Broward County Commission, will run for Congressional District 22, the seat currently held by Republican Allen West.

“There is no time to waste,” Jacobs said Friday. “This window is open but I don’t think the opportunity is going to be there long if I don’t jump in and get busy.”

West announced this week that he will run in a more conservative district to the north of his current district. He made his announcement in response to redistricting that is on track to turn his current Broward/Palm Beach swing district far more liberal. Former state legislator
Adam Hasner dropped his U.S. Senate bid in favor of running in West’s place on the Republican side.

Broward County Commissioner
John Rodstrom, also a Democrat, said Friday that he was still researching whether to join the race and emphasized that the district lines, which could face court challenges, are not yet certain. Former state legislator/West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel and businessman Patrick Murphy have been in the race for several months and have each raised more than $1 million.

Frankel has the backing of Emily’s List, a national group that backs pro-choice female candidates. Though Jacobs is also an abortion rights supporter, Emily’s List spokeswoman Jess McIntosh said Friday it won’t back a second candidate in that race. Both Frankel and Murphy have some influential backers: former CFO Alex Sink endorsed Frankel this week while former Gov. Charlie Crist donated to Murphy's campaign.

Armed with just about $15,000 in her first political race in 1998, Jacobs defied the establishment when she took on incumbent Sylvia Poitier. Jacobs called out Poitier for ethical breaches and won a countywide race and since then hasn’t faced a tough election.

Jacobs, who lives in Pompano Beach and doesn’t hold an outside job, faces term limits in 2014. She has been viewed as an outspoken champion for women, the environment, a living wage for county workers and libraries. In 2009, she made an impassioned speech when she voted in the minority against a budget that included significant cuts.

“And I look at those people who are going to lose their jobs, and I think you know what?  At some point, we have to stand up and say, the mob mentality, drop my taxes, drop, drop, drop, is wonderful to say, but the -- the results of it are not good for our community, that if we went with the popular opinion, I would not be a woman able to vote today.  If we went with the popular opinion, civil rights legislation would never have passed,” she said at a September 2009 county meeting.