Top Dem recruiter in town looking for challenger to Allen Westby George Bennett | February 24th, 2011
U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chatted with Tax Collector Anne Gannon today at the Four Seasons Resort about running in Palm Beach-Broward District 22. Israel breakfasted today with former Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, who lost to West in November, and said he has a “strong interest” in talking to term-limited West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel.
Israel and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met Wednesday in Boca Raton with Patrick Murphy, a Coastal Construction VP who lives in Fort Lauderdale and is getting consulting advice from veteran Democratic strategist Eric Johnson.
Klein says he’s keeping his options open.
“We’d love to have him back,” Israel said of Klein.
Israel said Frankel, whose term ends next month, “would be an outstanding member of Congress.”
Frankel wasn’t immediately reachable this afternoon.
Fiery conservative West won with 54.4 percent last year in a district that’s roughly evenly divided between Republican and Democratic voters.
Democrats are convinced they can win the district back in a presidential election year. They note that District 22 is one of only 14 in the U.S. that voted for Democratic presidential nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 but has a Republican House member.
The district will have new boundaries in 2012 after once-in-a-decade reapportionment.
Israel said he’s been in Florida all week recruiting candidates and raising money. He mentioned freshmen Reps. David Rivera, R-Miami, and Daniel Webster, R-Orlando, as other top Democratic targets in Florida.
Gannon said she’s looking at the District 22 race, but “I’m not going to run against someone that has the same base I do.” She said Frankel and Klein would fit that category.
“I’m content in my job and like what I’m doing and frankly find that I have more of a chance to make a difference here” as tax collector, Gannon said.
Tags: Anne Gannon