April 11, 2012

Allen West says many Dems in Congress are communists

This just goes to show that there is no such thing as a boring town hall when Republican Congressman Allen West is speaking. At a town hall in Jensen Beach Tuesday covered by TCPalm, a man asked West this question (this is the best we could make out in the video) “what percentage of the American Legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists (something garbled) Socialists?”

West's reply: “That’s a good question. I believe its about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party are members of the Communist Party.”

PolitiFact asked West’s spkeswoman Angela Melvin for an explanation today: “The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”

We read that response to Jennifer Gore, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who co-chairs the caucus. Here's a snapshot of what she said: "all of that is false."

We also contacted the Communist Party USA. Vice president Libero Della Piana said that none of the less than 5,000 members are members of Congress.

"Trust me -- if a member of Congress applied to join the Communisty Party we would know about it. It would set up some red flags -- pardon the pun."

PolitiFact will be fact-checking West's claim about how many -- if any -- Democrats in Congress are Communists.



March 07, 2012

Commissioner Chip LaMarca won't run for Allen West's seat

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca has decided not to run for Congressional 22 which means former state legislator Adam Hasner has a clear shot on the Republican side.

Hasner was part of the orchestrated switcheroo when U.S. Rep. Allen West decided in January due to redistricting to get out of the Broward-Palm Beach district and run to the north instead, allowing Hasner to drop his U.S. Senate bid and switch to the Congressional race. Prominent Republicans including former Gov. Jeb Bush quickly lined up behind Hasner while LaMarca was mulling over a bid.

LaMarca said that West was the only Republican leader to try to talk him out of running. LaMarca said Wednesday night that money was a factor in his decision not to run but also that he had won his county seat less than two years ago and that it would be disingenous to run for a different office so quickly. LaMarca said that if Hasner asks for his endorsement he will give it to him.

On the Democratic side, Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs and former state legislator/West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel will battle in the primary for the seat that is set to move far more to the left.


February 08, 2012

Patrick Murphy to run against Rep. Allen West in new district

Democratic candidate Patrick Erin Murphy announced he's going to challenge Rep. Allen West in the newly proposed 18th congressional district, which includes Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.
"Allen West can run, but he can't hide,'' Murphy blogged in announcing his decision to pursue West.
West announced last week he was leaving his current 22nd congressional seat, which is being redrawn as more favorable to Democrats as part of the redistricting process, in order to run in the district further north that is being vacated by fellow Republican Tom Rooney, who is going to be running in a different seat further north.

"West abandoned his constituents to seek what he believes is a more politically favorable ground in a neighboring district," Murphy blogged. "Sorry, Allen, there is no safe district for you.

Murphy said he's got support from fellow Democrats, locally and nationally.

His blog: http://patrickmurphy2012.com/node/396

His press release: http://patrickmurphy2012.com/node/393


February 03, 2012

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.

February 02, 2012

Allen West was a big part of the ka-ching! for Democrats raising money

Republican Allen West was all over the fundraising appeals of the Democrats -- Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel -- who were trying to unseat him. Now that West has announced he will run in a different district, the Democrats won't be able to rely on West's words and votes as much to bring in donations and support for their races. And that Democratic field could also get a lot more crowded. Check out the other Democrats who say they may jump in or sit this one out.

February 01, 2012

Allen West endorses Adam Hasner

Republican Rep. Allen West will endorse former state lawmaker Adam Hasner, who is announcing that he'll drop his U.S. Senate bid and run for the seat West is leaving. West plans to run in a friendlier Palm Beach County-based congressional seat. 

The endorsement from the Tea Party-backed West comes in the midst a political scramble for Florida's congressional seats. Thanks to redistricting, sitting lawmakers are trying to find friendly home districts -- and so are potential challengers. 

A chain reaction of announcements culminated Tuesday when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, who currently represents Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach Counties, announced he’d run in a new proposed congressional district that stretches from Martin to Charlotte County.

West then said he’d run in Rooney’s old seat, opening up a slot for a Republican in West’s District 22 seat, which straddles Palm Beach and Broward counties.

That allows Adam Hasner to exit the U.S. Senate race and run for West’s old seat. Hasner, who was struggling in a five-way Republican Senate race, would be running in a congressional seat that mirrors his old Delray-Beach-based state legislative district. 

West's endorsement stands to bring thousands of dollars Hasner's way in what will be one of the most expensive congressional races in the country. 

So far, there's two Democrats in the race: Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, and businessman Patrick Murphy. Several other Democrats have said they'd consider running for the seat: Broward County commissioners John Rodstrom and Kristin Jacobs.

The Dems who may run in the Allen West-less district

There is a lot of chatter about Democrats who may jump into the Congressional District 22 primary now that Republican Allen West has said he'll run in a district to the north instead.

Broward County Commissioners John Rodstrom and Kristin Jacobs are both considering a bid. Jacobs told us she is "seriously" considering it. Jacobs had thought about running in the past before West's announcement -- she faces term limits in a couple of years so this would move up her potential plans to run.

Former Congressman Ron Klein, who lost the district to West in 2010, said today he has ruled out running this cycle. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler had not even won his re-election bid Tuesday before he started getting calls urging him to run but Seiler said he won't run for the seat.


Rodstrom may run for Allen West's seat

The politics blog browardbeat.com reported that Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom may jump in to the Congressional 22 race now that Republican Allen West announced that he will run in another district. Redistricting has steered the Broward/Palm Beach district more to the left.

Rodstrom, a 59-year-old Democrat, is term limited out of his county job in November. Rodstrom told Naked Politics this morning that he started to think about running for Congress in earnest during the past couple of weeks as rumors swirled that West was getting out.

If Rodstrom enters the race, that would pose a challenge to the other two Democrats running: businessman Patrick Murphy and former state legislator/West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel. Rodstrom, a Fort Lauderdale resident who works at Sterne Agee brokerage agency, said he has won seven of nine elections -- he lost a race for mayor and state Legislature. As a longtime politician and husband to Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, Rodstrom would have the ability to raise a lot of money.

Rodstrom said he sees a rare opportunity in running for an open seat

"The opportunity to go to Washington to straighten things out only comes around once in a long long time," Rodstrom said. 


January 31, 2012

Shakeup: Adam Hasner to run for West's CD seat; Mack could walk in U.S. Senate primary

The dominoes are falling.

U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner will likely leave the race and run for Allen West's soon-to-be-vacated Congressional seat, a source tells us. West's seat looks a lot like Hasner's old legislative Delray Beach-based district.

Hasner's move makes sense on more levels than that. Rep. Connie Mack, of Fort Myers, is cruising in the U.S. Senate race, leading in the polls and, soon, fundraising. Hasner could have handled that.

But Hasner's campaign was dealt a serious blow, of sorts, bythe presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, who stumped in the final days across Florida with Mack. Mack picked up precious TV time and the aura of the favored.

Meanwhile, to avoid a bloody primary, leadership in the U.S. House asked Hasner to run for West's seat. But first, West had to announce he'd leave his seat and run for Tom Rooney's seat. And before that happened, Rooney had to announce he'd leave his district and run for a new district.

Connie Mack still has to run in a primary, though, and former Sen. George LeMieux is sticking with it. At least for now.

All of the shifting has been sparked in large part by the Constitutional requirement to redraw congressional districts every 10 years after the U.S. Census. A new state constitutional requirement forbids state legislators, who must redraw the maps, from favoring or disfavoring an incumbent or political party.

 Translation: It's a recipe for a lawsuit.

So now the question is: What happens to this Republican congressional musical-chairs game if Democrats sue and win the right to have new maps?

Allen West's wife sees no conspiracy in redistricting

We missed U.S. Rep. Allen West voting this morning in Plantation but caught up with his wife at her precinct. Angela Graham-West wouldn't reveal who she voted for in the presidential primary.

She disagreed with suggestions that her husband got screwed by the redistricting plan that would steer his swing district  in Congressional 22 more to the left. "I don't think it was deliberate," she said.

Rush Limbaugh took Republicans to task for a redistricting plan that would hurt West and said "[Redistricting chairman Rep. Will] Weatherford is a Romney guy and this is why people think Romney is behind this."

When we told Graham-West about Limbaught's comments, she disagreed with the conservative commentator arguing that Romney cares more about his own race than West's race.

At a precinct at the Pompano Beach Civic Center, some Republican voters preferred Romney because they described him as having less baggage than Gingrich.

"I decided walking in -- that's how undecided I was between Romney and Gingrich," said Ronald Perkins, a 60-year-old who works as a chaplain at Port Everglades. "I'm very upset by all the negative campaigning."

Perkins said he had personally met Gingrich in the past and described him as "the smartest human being he has met" but said that can be a problem because "he knows it."

Ultimately Perkins said he thought Romney had a better chance: "Romney is more electable. He has less baggage. Both have baggage but Romney has less."

Perkins wasn't personally turned off by Gingrich's cheating in terms of evaluating presidential candidates.

"I believe in forgiveness," Perkins said. "He has gone to confession. Like the rest of us he continues to sin. To me it's not the most important criteria for who is going to be president."

Victor Reale, a retired airline agent in Pompano Beach, said Gingrich got his vote. Reale saw Gingrich as a man who promised quick action within hours of taking office.

"I liked the Newt," Reale said. "We should get the debt down. We've got to pay our bills and cut, cut, cut."