November 07, 2012

Updated results: Patrick Murphy defeats Allen West, avoids automatic recount

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.

More here.

October 16, 2012

PolitiFact checks character attacks in the Allen West vs. Patrick Murphy race

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.

July 30, 2012

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."

Indeed, comrade.

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.

Continue reading "Allen West: Read your Sun Tzu, beware of Russia building a Cuba naval base to be Castro's 'sugar daddy.' " »

July 26, 2012

Allen West weighs in, picks Rep. Sandy Adams over Rep. John Mica

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.

Continue reading "Allen West weighs in, picks Rep. Sandy Adams over Rep. John Mica" »

July 14, 2012

Wasserman Schultz talks up Allen West's likely Democratic opponent

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.

June 28, 2012

PolitiFact looks back at health care claims by Allen West, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and more

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.



June 07, 2012

Allen West moves out of Broward

It's official: Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West no longer lives in Broward. West is now a resident of Palm Beach Gardens. His spokeswoman wouldn't say whether West bought a home or is renting.

"We do not discuss the personal details of his residence," Angela Melvin wrote in an email.

We didn't find any home purchase in Palm Beach County online records.

West had been living in Plantation just outside his Congressional District 22 which spans Broward and Palm Beach. Due to redistricting, West is now running in District 18 which is to the north of his current district and more favorable to a Republican.   

West is expected to face Democrat Patrick Murphy who is renting a residence in Jupiter.


June 06, 2012

Tension, profanity, police & a senior threatening to cane a liberal. Just another Allen West event in Boca

If Allen West doesn't become unglued or say something controversial, it's a good bet that one of his supporters or opponents will.

At the Mae Volen center in Boca Raton, a few liberals tried to confront West who was walled off from them by supportes, according to a May 30 BizPac Review video we just saw of the event last week. One woman got bent out of shape when West referred to his liberal protesters, who follow him from event to event, as "groupies.

Islam-critic Tom Trento, shooting video along with at least three others (the Shark Tank's Javier Manjarres and BizPac camera woman), told the liberal protester "You're in over your head." Finally, the woman called one of the West supporters "an obnoxious little man" and then flicked him, saying  "fuck you."

An elderly conservative then got ornery, shoving the liberal younger woman.

"Hey, don't you touch him," the conservative said, brandishing her cane. "I'll wrap this around your head!"

A police officer stopped her. The elderly woman complained about her kneee and said that the younger woman "shoved me." The video doesn't really indicate that. Police escorted her out. At one point, someone seems to say "can you start another fight for me?"

Then came Palm Beach County liberal Tony Fransetta, with the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, who appeared to tell a police officer that the younger woman was threatened.

Manjarres: "We're threatening you? We're not threatening you."

Trento: "Why do you say crazy stuff like that? Why do you have to lie like that?"

Asked his name as three cameras trained on him, Fransetta said: "My name is Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8 watch me tomorrow night.... You think you're slick with your little phone. I've got one too. I know very good about technology and all. And my name is Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8 and who do you represent."

As Fransetta said it, he leaned in to the BizPac camera woman who said: "Is there a reason you're touching me. Is there a reason you're pushing me? What are you here for?

Fransetta then walked up to Manjarres's camera: "What's your name?"

My name is Javier Manjarres. I'm with the Shark Tank blog. You're name is what? Blew Joe?

Fransetta, walking away: "My name Joe Blow Weatherman Channel 8."

Manjarres: "I understand you blew Joe or something."

April 13, 2012

Allen West doubles down, turns commie comment into fundraising pitch

Picture 27

No reason a congressman can't turn a commie comment into capital, eh? From Congressman Allen West:

Dear Fellow Conservative,

You know I am not afraid to speak the truth.

That’s why I’m the number one target of liberals and their friends in the media who are going completely nuts about my comments at a recent Townhall meeting. I need your help to fight back and stand up against the corrupt liberal media as they attempt cover for their left-wing allies.

In response to a question about Marxists in Congress, I called out the Congressional Progressive Caucus for their extreme left-wing positions. I stand by the point of my comments and I need you to stand with me today by making a contribution of $10 or more.

Continue reading "Allen West doubles down, turns commie comment into fundraising pitch" »