August 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN 100: Stage set for Florida 22nd rematch

 The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.
The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.

Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:

Florida 22nd: Rep. Ron Klein (D) is seeking a third term
Primary: August 24, 2010
Location: Southeast Florida, coastal Broward and Palm Beach counties, parts of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton
Days until Election Day: 64

Florida's 22nd district will be the site of one of many political rematches in 2010, as Democratic Rep. Ron Klein faces off against his 2008 GOP opponent, Allen West.

Klein, currently serving his second term, was first elected in 2006 after unseating 13-term GOP incumbent Clay Shaw. He has been a loyal Democratic vote in Congress, supporting major Democratic policy initiatives such as health care reform and the economic stimulus plan. Those votes have led former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who is backing West, to describe Klein as a "left-wing ideologue who's marched to the beat of Nancy Pelosi."

West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, served in Iraq in both Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s and the more recent Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also worked in Afghanistan training Afghan officers. Klein defeated West in the 2008 general election, winning 55 percent to West's 45 percent. If elected this year, West would likely be the only African American Republican in the U.S. House.

The Klein campaign aired the first ad of the general election shortly after polls had closed on Primary Day last Tuesday. The spot raised questions about West's personal finances and said he has the "wrong values for South Florida." West stayed positive in his first general election spot, which did not mention Klein and instead prominently featured children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Unlike in 2008, West has been very competitive in terms of campaign cash. By early August, he had raised an impressive $4 million, compared to $2.5 million for Klein. But the two nominees were on more equal footing in terms of cash-on-hand. Klein had $2.8 million in the bank at the start of the month, compared to $2.2 million for West.

The 22nd district is located in South Florida and covers most of Palm Beach and Broward counties' Atlantic coastlines. The district is home to ritzy hotels and shopping centers and relies heavily on the tourism industry. Although its residents are mostly well-off, they are not immune to the economic climate, and Florida's high 11.5 unemployment rate should give the incumbent cause for concern.

The district voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the last five election cycles. In 2008, President Barack Obama won with 52 percent of the vote.

Despite the district's Democratic leanings in presidential races, it has a long history of voting Republican in House elections. Klein is not at the top of the list of GOP targets this year, but he cannot take the West challenge lightly, especially considering West's healthy fundraising and his respectable showing here in the Democratic-friendly year of 2008.


Filed under: 2010 • CNN 100 • Florida • Ron Klein
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The republican party sure has some strange candidates running in Florida. Time to say "No" to these right wing nut candidates from Rubio, the cabana boy for Dick Armey, the medicare fraud governor candidate, to the republican candidates for congress who want to eliminate social security and medicare and the new health reform in order to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

    August 30, 2010 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Keith in Austin

    Klein's District HAS voted the Democratic Ticket in recent election cycles however,that was before the left wing disasters created by Barry, Harry and Botox Nancy!

    S Fla. is populated by many Jewish voters and Bozo's ongoing favoratism to the Muslim world clearly puts Klein under a bus. Looks like Change We Can Believe In is coming in Florida at Klein's (along with a litany of other Democrats) expense come November!

    August 30, 2010 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. G4

    Get the Democrats out of power because they are corrupt.

    August 30, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. Trenet

    "If elected this year, West would likely be the only African American Republican in the U.S. House."

    Why doesn't CNN find somebody who knows about politics to write their political stories? Tim Scott, a black Republican, is strongly favored to win the 1st congressional district in South Carolina, a district that voted overwhelmingly for McCain over Obama in 2008.

    August 30, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    The time to clean up both The House and 1/3 the Senate is upon us. Don't vote for the party! It is time the people sent a message to Washington DC we reject politics as usual.

    Fire All incumbents!

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"
    Fire All Incumbents!
    On all levels of Government, I know everyone knows these federal and state fake representatives are crooks, but not my representative. Well I have news for you if your representative has been in and your taxes are going up, your state fees are going up and they were part of problem too.
    I do not care if you were the dog catcher if you are an incumbent welcome to the unemployment line with the rest of us.

    August 30, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. ED FL

    Bill Mccollum is disappointed, so were/are orlando Area constituants.When Mccollum and Weldon of Brevard county vowed to not run again and again and did for 20 plus years. He did nothing to help keep the Navy Training base from closing, Thousands of jobs ,people and thriving buisness's along Colonial drive now closed while he and Weldon got ina Spitting contest. WE also lost the Veterans Hospital TWICE due to these two. It is now being Built 15/20 miles outside of the Orlando area fifteen years to late . The VA clinic in orlando is swamped with patients. Try getting an appointment. They ended up with a clinic in Brevard but most serious conditions need to come to bigger orlando.Veterans clinic and ,consumers and buisness along that stretch remember each day they have to drive by empty [once thriving buisness's] what goes around comes around.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. TC, WPB moderate

    Lt Col West is a true patriot with many answers to this county's problems. He is intelligent, knowlegeable and has great vision, unlike Pelosi's lap-dog Klein. Want to bet that Klein, or Olbermann (MSNBC), will debate West? There's no chance. Klein's popularity comes from living in a middle-to-upper class area, also mine, and having a Jewish following. Currently Klein is not to be found as he is hiding from his record.

    GO West, District 22, 2010 and President 2012.

    August 30, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |