West out, Hasner in — the latest on congressional District 22 intrigueby George Bennett | February 1st, 2012
A day after freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, announced he’s leaving the district to run in a more Republican-friendly district to the north, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton confirmed this afternoon that he’s abandoning his Republican U.S. Senate bid to pursue the District 22 seat.
Hasner begins the congressional campaign with about $670,000 in cash from his Senate run. He also picked up an endorsement from West, who said, “I wish him the best, believe in him wholeheartedly and look forward to working alongside of him on Capitol Hill.”
District 22 is divided nearly evenly between Republicans and Democrats now, but state legislators are expected to approve a map that gives District 22 a pronounced Democratic tilt.
With incumbent West gone and the district’s new partisan makeup, two Democratic Broward County commissioners — Kristin Jacobs of Pompano Beach and John Rodstrom of Fort Lauderdale — said today they are considering entering the District 22 race.
Two well-financed Democrats are already in the race — former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Fort Lauderdale accountant Patrick Murphy. Each has raised about $1.4 million.
But sources close to Murphy say he is giving serious thought to leaving the District 22 race and running against West in the proposed new District 18, which includes parts of northern Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Such a move could allow Murphy to sidestep a costly Democratic primary. And keeping the outspoken conservative West as an opponent would allow Murphy to continue to appeal to national Democratic donors for contributions.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, lives in the proposed District 18. But he announced Tuesday that he will seek reelection in an adjacent rural District 17, which includes parts of eight counties. Within an hour of Rooney announcing his plans on Tuesday, West announced his jump into the District 18 race.
West, one of the top money-raisers in the U.S., began 2012 with more than $2.7 million in his campaign account.
Murphy began the year with $897,140. Frankel has just over $1 million in her campaign account. Frankel today was endorsed by former Florida Chief Financial Officer and 2010 Democratic nominee for governor Alex Sink.