Allen West Flees Wilton Manors
After the Florida state legislature redrew the 22nd Congressional District to include more democrats and a much larger slice of Wilton Manors Republican Congressman Allen West decided to seek reelection to the House of Representatives in the newly proposed 18th Congressional District, which includes northern Palm Beach County, and all of St. Lucie and Martin counties.
If West had decided to run for reelection in the 22nd district it would have been an uphill battle. The newly proposed 18th district, however, will be far more republican friendly. Republican Tom Rooney currently represents the area, but is leaving to run in the proposed 17th Congressional District on the west coast of Florida.
Democrats naturally blasted West’s decision to relocate.
Former West Palm Beach Mayor Democrat Lois Frankel, who’s running for West’s seat, released a statement:
"Allen West just announced that he is cutting and running from a fight with me - he is retreating to another district," she said in a prepared statement. "Mr. West had to see the writing on the wall- after spending his time in Washington practicing his extreme tea-party politics, he lost touch with our district’s values."
While Patrick Murphy, another democratic candidate for the seat, said:
"Allen West went from talking tough this weekend and telling progressives to "get the hell out of this country" to abandoning the people who elected him. There is no other way to interpret this: Allen West is a coward. The truth is that the maps are far from set and I will continue to monitor the redistricting process closely."
Since West has relocated former Majority Leader of the State House of Representatives Republican Adam Hasner has decided to drop his bid for the U.S. Senate and instead run for the 22nd district.
The Legislative Director of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, Michael Rajner, has a theory on why the Republicans redrew West’s district.
"The republican controlled legislature set him up for failure. To throw him out of Congress essentially," he said.
A theory it turns out West doesn’t necessarily dispute.
In an interview with CBS News he said:
"I think for whatever reason they had some alternatives for some maps they could have accepted as amendments that would have kept this as a very competitive district. Whatever reason they decided to go a little more extreme. No one is gonna lay a trap for me and so that’s why we saw a great opportunity with Tom Rooney shifting to a new district."
West also went on to say the new district contains 23 percent of his current district and that there’s a lot of commonality because it’s on coast of Southeast Florida.
"It’s quite interesting that Allen West this whole time while campaigning continued to tell democrats to bring it on," Rajner said. "He’s like a sewer rat trying to climb to higher ground to fight the flooding waters. He paints himself as a soldier in battle fighting against the odds but he put his tail between his legs and went shopping for a different district."
With the departure of West, Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs has also now jumped in to the race.