Florida Republican gets 2012 challenger
March 21st, 2011
05:31 PM ET
11 years ago

Florida Republican gets 2012 challenger

(CNN) - Freshman Republican Rep. Allen West, who was backed by the Tea Party in last November's election, has drawn another challenger in the 2012 race for Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

Democrat Lois Frankel, the mayor of West Palm Beach, announced Monday that she will challenge West for the seat. Frankel, who has been mayor for 8 years and is term-limited, is also a former Florida state representative. Fort Lauderdale businessman and Democrat Patrick Murphy announced his candidacy for the seat last week.

In a statement announcing her candidacy, Frankel touted her economic record as mayor and pushed for more bipartisan cooperation in Washington.

"As a mayor and the mother of a veteran and small business owner, I know what families need to do to get by in these tough times" Frankel said in the statement. "Family budgets must be balanced with thought and care. That is why as Mayor of West Palm Beach we balanced our budget while also promoting economic revitalization."

"I am not running for Congress to win favor with the Washington extremists and I am not motivated the same tired partisan fights. I believe it's about time we put the interests of our local economy and families first," Frankel said.

West, an Iraq War veteran and one of two Republican African Americans serving in the House, last month delivered the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In his address, West laid out his vision for conservatives' future, outlining three "pillars of conservatism" - including "effective and efficient principles of government," "peace through vigilance, resolve, and strength," and a commitment to "never abandon values."

During the speech, West also pushed back on recent analysis that rated him "one of the most vulnerable representatives" for his next election, telling the CPAC crowd, "I've got to tell you; standing in front of you, I don't feel so vulnerable, do I?"

West defeated two-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Klein by 54 percent to 46 percent during the 2010 election. Prior to Klein, 13-term Republican Congressman Clay Shaw held the seat.

He is also one of a group of Republicans the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has already begun targeting in ads on radio stations and web sites, as well as launch automated telephone calls.

West has not been within controversy since arriving in Washington. Last month he faced heat over comments directed at Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, who he said represents "the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."

The congressman later defended those comments in a town hall when pressed on the issue by Nezar Hamze, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Miami.

"I will always defend your right to practice a free religion under the First Amendment," West told Hamze. "But what you must understand, if I am speaking the truth, I am not going to stop speaking the truth. The truth is not subjective."

Filed under: 2012 • Allen West • Florida • Lois Frankel
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    West days are numbered, he's a fool.

    March 21, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. Elibrun Pierre

    West is out of date

    March 21, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. Al

    Bye Bye Mr.West you're finished.

    March 21, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Thank Goodness..hopefully they'll be one less moron in congress after 2012.

    March 21, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    West has been out of touch with reality from day one. That, of course, is a real plus for those who seek to represent baggers, birchers, and right wingnuts. Since he is clueless about needs of Floridians, It is time for West to go back to right wing talk shows.

    March 21, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Rickster

    The democrats can keep trotting out one loon after another but they are not going to defeat the great patriot, Allen West, aka: The Nation's Greatest Congressman.

    March 21, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Ms. Frankel has my support. I just got my "Third Party Voter Registration" certificate. Boy are they making it hard for people to vote and register new voters down here. Palm Beach County is ready for her. West is one and done.

    March 21, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    Now that the American people know WEST I hope "Florida's 22nd Congressional District will catch on and get him out in 2012!!! He states that Muslims represent "..."the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established", referring to Rep. Keith Ellison." In reality, this country was established on THEFT and build by SLAVES – So what does WEST and others that think like him represent????

    March 21, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. stayintrue

    Wow, Claudia. You call a marine and a hero among his men a fool? How do you come to that conclusion? Just curious.
    West has actually been in DC all of 2 MONTHS. How can you be so certain......or are you just a person that sees an R before a name and goes off the deep end? I see you are from Texas, what do you know that I, a Florida resident, does not know?
    😉 Just the facts please.

    March 21, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. S. In California - Obama 2012

    So glad I no longer reside in this state.

    March 21, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. Jared

    West is the man. He won't lose this. No one is more skilled in debate.

    March 21, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Name Creole

    Hell Yes let's get all these crazy folks out of office before they mess our country up

    March 21, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Juan

    I wonder will more people challenge these tea party fools.

    March 21, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    Here come Frankel again and again. Same old tired progressive politics.

    March 21, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. PacificView

    I think there will be plenty of iced tea after 2012.

    March 21, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Steve

    West is one of the few politicians who actually understands world politics, both the stakes and the players. As a soldier, he understands how bad war can be.

    Lois is just another narrow-minded small-town mayor with parochial blinkers. If Florida was unfortunate to see her win, she would undoubtedly join Hillary and company in being another liberal chickenhawk.

    March 21, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  17. Tony in Maine

    West has no understanding of leadership. It's interesting that he ended his military career as a field grade officer under a cloud for mistreatment of a prisoner in his custody. There are times the military is too kind. He should have received a general court and been cashiered.

    March 21, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. SamMy

    Col. West is the best thing to happen to politics since Reagan. He is my congressman, and I plan to support him again!

    March 21, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |