My colleague, political writer Tony Man, has a story in today’s paper about how freshman Congressman Allen West raised a whopping $1.9 million in the last three months, ranking him as one of the top national fundraisers. He now has a total of $4.1 million in his reelection kitty, swamping his two Democratic challengers.
I would guess that only a small fraction of West’s war chest was generated in the district he represents, Florida 22 (I would say “home district,” but by now must of us know that would be a misnomer). Rep. West has done an excellent job of burnishing a national profile as one of the tea party’s most valiant foot soldiers, and as such he enjoys a broad financial base.
One has to wonder, at a practical level, how much advantage this mountainous sum will accord him. After all, just about everyone in his district knows who he is, and he is such a polarizing figure that his constituents have probably made up their minds about whether or not they’re going to vote for him without even knowing who is challenger is going to be.
As an employee of a media organization, I hope that West will decide to play it safe and use his stash to buy plenty of self-aggrandizing ads in my newspaper and elsewhere. It might be a wise move, anyway, because even with all that money, his reelection is not a sure thing. Dist. 22 is one of the few truly split congressional districts left in this country.
I suggest that Rep. West would have a better chance of being a shoo-in if he were to abandon his reelection plans and run for Bill Nelson’s U.S. Senate seat. Florida as a whole is more Republican than West’s district.
But nobody from the West camp is asking me, and for good reason. I’m just looking forward to the first time he tells challenger Lois Frankel "You're no lady" in a debate. He'd better bring along his corner man.
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