Martin County Sheriff Crowder decides to challenge Allen West in GOP congressional primaryby George Bennett | February 14th, 2012
Crowder said voters in the new District 18, which includes all of Martin and St. Lucie Counties and a chunk of northern Palm Beach County, should have the option of choosing a homegrown candidate rather than one from Broward County. West announced Jan. 31 that he would leave his Palm Beach-Broward seat to run in the new district, which has been approved by the Florida legislature but is still subject to legal challenge.Crowder said he’s running “to provide some local representation for a new district — rather than having someone who’s not really familiar with the district coming in and purporting to represent the people here. I just think the people need to have that option. If they choose to elect an outsider, that’s their choice.”
Crowder, 66, is completing his fifth term as sheriff and had already announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. He began entertaining thoughts of running for Congress after redistricting led U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, who lives in District 18, to announce he was running in a new district to the west. Less than an hour after Rooney’s announcement, West announced plans to run in District 18 rather than his own district, which has been redrawn with a pronounced Democratic tilt.
West is a national tea party celebrity who has raised more than $5.9 million and began 2012 with more than $2.7 million in his campaign account. Crowder said he’s never raised more than $100,000 for any of his campaigns.
Crowder wouldn’t estimate how much it might cost to challenge West, but said he’ll have other advantages after living in the area more than 50 years.
“I think because of my history here there’s a lot of grass-roots things I can do that might not work for an outsider,” Crowder said.
Tags: Robert Crowder