Democratic U.S. Reps. Wexler, Klein, Hastings, Wasserman Schultz endorse Deutch for Congressby George Bennett | October 25th, 2009
In addition to the display of endorsement firepower, Deutch’s campaign said it has already raised more than $200,000 in its first 10 days. And Deutch has about a dozen fund-raisers scheduled for the next six weeks, including one in Washington hosted by his congressional endorsers and events in New York and Cleveland.
Wexler is resigning in January to head the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. A special election is expected in early 2010.
The four members of Congress joined Deutch on a conference call this afternoon.
Democrats Deutch, Ben Graber and Jose Ruiz have announced they’re running for the heavily Democratic Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 19 seat. Republican Ed Lynch is also running.
Two other big-name Dems — West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter — are also looking at the race.
Asked if today’s endorsements were intended to deter other Democrats from running, Wexler said, “all of us do believe that a unified Democratic Party is a very positive thing….Certainly at a congressional level, the Democratic Party is unified behind Ted Deutch.”
Deutch said the endorsements give his campaign “a tremendous boost,” but said he’s not treating the election as a coronation.
“I absolutely agree that ultimately it is the voters that matter the most,” Deutch said. “I look forward in the next few weeks and months to making the case to the voters.”
Wexler’s endorsement of Deutch was expected. Two of Wexler’s top aides — Eric Johnson and Josh Rogin — are working for Deutch as political consultants.
Wexler and others praised Deutch, a first-term state Senator in the minority in Tallahassee, for getting legislation passed that bans investment of state pension funds in companies that do business with Iran. They also noted Deutch’s success in sponsoring a $1-a-pack cigarette tax that passed the legislature this year.
The last two occupants of Deutch’s state Senate seat went on to Congress. Deutch succeeded Klein in 2006 when Klein was elected to his U.S. House seat. Klein had held the Senate since 1996, when he replaced Wexler after Wexler was elected to Congress.