"This week we voted in the House of Representatives to remove the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law," wrote West, who lost a close race to Democrat Patrick Murphy in District 18 in Florida’s Treasure Coast. "However, that does not mean there isn't plenty of lunacy going on in the workings of the federal government!"
We can’t fact-check the amount of lunacy in Washington, D.C., but we couldn’t resist looking into whether the House actually voted to remove the word "lunatic" from federal law. Read PolitiFact for the full story.
One measure of the changing political climate in Florida and Washington: Democratic U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy, a political novice who ousted Republican Allen West in a tight race, made an impromptu stop at a four-county climate change conference in Jupiter on Monday to pledge his support for legislation addressing the issue.
Murphy said he would be a "passionate advocate" for Everglades and other environmental issues in Washington, subjects largely dismissed by West, perhaps best known for fiery rhetoric that had made him a Tea Party favorite. Murphy, an avid angler who grew up in the Florida Keys, said he had no doubts about the risks posed by rising sea levels.
"Unfortunately we have far too many politicians who continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend its not happening," Murphy said in brief remarks to at fourth annual Southeast Florida regional climate leadership summit, which was attended by political leaders, planners and others from seven counties.
After a three-week legal challenge and a partial recount, West conceded the race for Florida House District 18, which covers northeastern Palm Beach County and Martin and St. Lucie counties.
--- by Curtis Morgan
A statement from soon-to-be-former Rep. Allen West:
For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.
As Florida elections results were updated overnight, Democrat Patrick Murphy's lead over Republican Rep. Allen West widened and Murphy now appears to have defeated West by 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent -- a wide enough margin to avoid a recount.
Recounts are triggered by a margin within 0.5 percent.
We've updated our online story on South Florida congressional races to reflect the new results:
Another Republican incumbent, Rep. Allen West of Palm Beach Gardens, appeared to lose to Democrat Patrick Murphy by 2,456 votes in the early hours of Wednesday. Murphy got 50.4 percent of the vote to West’s 49.6 percent.
In District 18, there are still hundreds provisional ballots to be counted, but in those cases voters have to provide information to prove their ballots should be counted and it’s unlikely that all of them will, Eric Johnson, Murphy’s campaign consultant, said Wednesday morning. There are also absentee ballots remaining to be counted in Palm Beach.
The state elections website showed that the district which encompasses Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties gave a 2,456 voter edge to Murphy.
“There is no scenario where the 2,400 [edge that Murphy as] gets overturned,” he said. “Right now we are 700 votes outside the recount measure.”
The West campaign has not conceded, Johnson said. West’s campaign manager didn’t respond to emails Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Johnson said that he believes Murphy, 29, will become the youngest member of the next Congress but not the youngest in history.
Johnson attributed Murphy’s win to voters anger about attack ads.
“Patrick’s message over and over that we have to work together, not be divisive, the name calling has got to stop really sold with voters in the Treasure Coast,” Johnson said.
West was a Tea Party favorite and first-term member of Congress while Murphy is a 29-year-old businessman. In his first political race, Murphy tapped into Democrats’ nationwide distaste for West— a regular on Fox News who drew attention for saying several dozen of Democrats in the House are communists and calling U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) “vile.”
West raised about $17 million while Murphy raised more than $3.7 million in one of the most expensive House contests in the nation.
Murphy’s father gave $250,000 to a PAC that created an ad depicting a caricature of West, who is African-American, in boxing gloves punching an old white woman, a younger white woman and grabbing money from a black family. The ad was intended to depict West socking it to constituents over Medicare, health care and tax cuts.
Years before Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West of South Florida was famous for calling about 80 members of Congress "communists", he was famous for something else far away from the partisan wars in Washington D.C.
Lt. Col. West initially became famous for his treatment of an Iraqi detainee, when he fired his gun over his head trying to extract information from him in 2003. West was ultimately fined and retired from the Army. While he said his methods weren’t right, he also defended himself:
"If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can," he testified.
He moved to South Florida, started to speak to locals about his Army experience and the brash-talking black Republican launched his Congressional bid. His campaign drew scant attention in 2008, but two years later, amid a tea party spirit and anger about the economy, a well-financed West ousted U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.
In 2012, redistricting transformed the Broward/Palm Beach Congressional District 22 from a swing district to left-leaning, so West moved his campaign to safer conservative territory, specifically the newly drawn District 18, which spans parts of Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties. Based on voter performance, this could be close: These voters narrowly went for George W. Bush in 2004 and narrowly for Obama in 2008.
West is now far ahead in an expensive campaign war with a 29-year-old political newcomer and Democrat, Patrick Murphy, whose wealthy family owns a successful construction business. PolitiFact checks two dueling character ads in this race -- one about Murphy's drunken arrest when he was 19 and the other about the end of West's military career. The ads are biting, but are they true? Read PolitiFact's analysis.
Allen West: Read your Sun Tzu, beware of Russia building a Cuba naval base to be Castro's 'sugar daddy.'
BizPAC Review alerted us to this interesting snippet of a speech from U.S. Rep. Allen West, a retired colonel, who was asked about new reports of Russia wanting a new military base in Cuba.
It's unclear right now if Russia really wants a base that could be as close as 90 miles away from U.S. shores. Russia's top naval officer said on state TV Friday that it's in talks to build a base or bases in Cuba, Vietnam and the Seychelles island nation in the Indian Ocean. But then, on Saturday, Russia's foreign minister dismissed the talk as a media "fantasy."
Asked about the possibility of a Russian base in Cuba and President Obama's possible response, West said he couldn't speculate about what would happen. But he expressed concerns about multiple threats in our hemisphere:
"Cuba is looking for a new sugar daddy. And when you look at what's happening in our hemisphere, as a I say, you have Iran in our hemisphere. You're looking at Russian naval vessels coming into our hemisphere. Now, if you go down and talk to the United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida, who oversees this hemisphere all the way down to Latin America, the only real military presence we have is the Coast Guard. We don't have anything in this hemisphere. But yet you have Hezbolla training camps, you have Hugo Chavez, you have the Ortega brothers, you have narco traffickers in Mexico that are working with Iran and Hezbollah. How much did you hear about the assassination attempt on the Saudi ambassador and also the Israeli ambassador?...."
West's comments leave the impression that the United States is militarily naked in South Florida. It's not.
Interesting politics at play in Central Florida from South Florida's most-well known Republican Congressman, Allen West. He joined Sarah Palin to endorse fellow Republican Rep. Sandy Adams. Her opponent, Rep. John Mica, was endorsed by Mike Huckabee.
The press release:
Orlando, FL – Freshman Sandy Adams is proud to announce the endorsement today of fellow Florida freshman, Allen West. Together, West and Adams came to Congress in 2010 to fix what is broken in Washington, D.C. West joins former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and America's Toughest Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in supporting Sandy Adams over 20-year Washington insider John Mica.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) talked up Democratic candidates including Patrick Murphy, political newcomer and businessman who is expected to win the primary in Congressional District 18 and face Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West.
“Patrick Murphy will send the unhinged, McCarthy-esque West and his extremist views back home wherever that is where he belongs,” said the DNC chair speaking to about 1,000 Democrats at the annual Jefferson Jackson dinner in Hollywood Saturday night.
The McCarthy comments relates to when West riled up Congressional Democrats when he said about 80 are Communists -- a claim PolitiFact ruled Pants on Fire.
West was elected to the Broward/Palm Beach Congressional District 22 while he lived in part of Plantation that was in a neighboring district represented by Wasserman Schultz. Due to redistricting, West recently moved to the new Treasure Coast District 18 which is north of his current district. Murphy also recently moved to the district.
West has a major financial advantage: he raised about $7.6 million through the first quarter of the year while Murphy has raised about $2.3 million through the second quarter.
Florida politicians have used the health care law to make claims that range from declaring it the "biggest tax increase ever" to containing a slush fund to spay pets as part of an anti-obesity effort.
As the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on the 2010 Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012, PolitFact Florida reviewed some of our most interesting claims by Florida politicians and groups about the law. Florida, with its large senior population and crucial role in the presidential election, has played a significant role in the health care law debate. (To peruse all of PolitiFact Florida’s health care claims click here.)
Read PolitiFact's article with links to previous claims.