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Democrat Klein raises $511,150, but it’s dwarfed by GOP challenger West’s $1.4 million

Friday, July 16th, 2010 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, reported late Monday that he raked in $511,150 in contributions between April 1 and June 30 — an impressive figure, but only about one-third of Republican challenger Allen West’s $1.4 million haul over the same period.

It was the third straight quarter in which West out-raised Klein, a two-term incumbent who’s one of the top Democratic moneymen.

Klein still holds an advantage in overall cash on hand, with $2.9 million to West’s $2.2 million. But his lead has shrunk from $1.6 million three months ago to $722,719 now.

Klein defeated West in 2008. For their 2010 rematch, West has capitalized on YouTube popularity and frequent cable TV appearances to raise nearly $3.5 million while Klein has raised about $2.4 million.

West’s campaign announced his second-quarter fund-raising total last week. Klein released his figure shortly before the midnight Federal Election Commission deadline.

Klein campaign calls GOP challenger West ‘radical’ for proposal to abolish federal Department of Education

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 by George Bennett

BOCA RATON — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s campaign is blasting Republican challenger Allen West for saying last year that the U.S. Department of Education should be abolished.

West’s campaign manager says the fact that two-term incumbent Klein is going on the offensive shows he’s “desperate” and doesn’t want to run on his record.

Klein’s campaign today assembled three retired teachers — two of whom are active in Palm Beach County Democratic politics, the third a former Broward County teachers union leader — and a high school student to speak out against West’s “radical policies.”

In a speech last November that’s posted on YouTube (look around the 8:35 mark), West said there are “a couple of agencies up there” in Washington “that have to go.”

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Allen West: Obama ‘immature’ in handling McChrystal flap

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 by George Bennett

West

West

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West, a high-profile Republican congressional candidate, faulted an “immature” President Obama for allowing the controversy over Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s remarks to escalate to a situation in which McChrystal was summoned to Washington and submitted his resignation today.

“I really do think it’s a very tragic thing that Gen. McChrystal was released. When I go back in history and look at some of the confrontations between American generals and American presidents, this is a very minor thing,” said West. West, whose speeches often include references to military history going back to ancient Greece, mentioned Lincoln’s firing of Gen. George McClellan during the Civil War and Truman’s removal of Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.

“I don’t think there was a threat to this president’s authority or strategy,” West said. He said McChrystal’s remarks in Rolling Stone “could have been handled off-line.”

West is no stranger to military controversy.

A decorated combat veteran, West was relieved of his command of a battalion in Iraq after a 2003 incident. During an interrogation of an Iraqi police officer suspected of having information about an assassination plot against West, West fired a pistol near the man’s head to get him to talk. After a military hearing, he was fined $5,000 and allowed to retire with a full pension.

TV reporter’s advice to GOP candidate West draws heat

Friday, May 14th, 2010 by George Bennett

A WPTV Channel 5 reporter’s advice to Republican congressional candidate Allen West on his TV appearances has been deemed “inconsistent” with station policy and drawn fire from the campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.

Klein supporters were alarmed recently when they saw a YouTube video of an event in which West introduced WPTV reporter Angela Sachitano and said she “does our media relations.”

Sachitano has no formal role with the West campaign, but she and her husband are friends with the candidate, West campaign manager Josh Grodin said. West said in an e-mail that Sachitano “provides me insights into how to improve my media appearance/presence and conduct of interviews.”

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Jeb, Rubio react to fellow Republican Allen West’s blast on Arizona law

Monday, May 10th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional candidate Allen West recently said two of the Florida GOP’s biggest stars — former Gov. Jeb Bush and Senate candidate Marco Rubio — should be “ashamed” for not supporting Arizona’s controversial new law aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

The Politics column caught up with Bush and Rubio Friday in Pasco County to get their reactions.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Oil spill politics: Dems rip Klein challenger West on drilling

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 by George Bennett

The Florida Democratic Party is blasting Republican congressional challenger Allen West for his past support of offshore drilling and his heretofore limited response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

West is challenging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, in a race that has gained national attention as West’s fund-raising has dwarfed the incumbent’s for the last two quarters.

Klein has opposed expanding offshore drilling while West has favored it. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion, West wrote on his campaign website Sunday that the gulf spill is “very worrisome” and that America needs to enhance its energy independence.

Says Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff: “West’s only response to the crisis has been a two word mention on his campaign blog. Rather than hiding behind his computer screen, maybe Allen West could demonstrate a little courage and publicly declare his continued support for drilling off Florida’s beaches. This just goes to show how breathtakingly out-of-touch he is with the residents of the 22nd District.”

After the Democratic blast, West offered a lengthier response today voicing concern and calling for safeguards while adding “Any person permanently taking oil exploration off the table is closing the door for an energy independent United States, thus further enabling our enemies to hold us hostage and fund terrorists that continue to plot attacks against us.”

Read West’s statement after the jump….

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Poll fallout: Klein camp calls West a Palin puppet, West camp sees Klein ‘desperation’

Monday, April 26th, 2010 by George Bennett

With Republican congressional hopeful Allen West trumpeting an internal poll that shows him edging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, Klein’s campaign responded this afternoon by blasting West, who was recently endorsed by Sarah Palin.

“Voters in Florida’s 22nd congressional district will have the opportunity to compare Congressman Ron Klein’s record of fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security, creating Florida jobs, and fighting for veterans, to the extreme rhetoric and positions of Allen West and his out-of-state puppet masters like Sarah Palin,” said Klein campaign spokeswoman Sarah Rothschild.

“While Allen West is focused on a poll for the November election, Congressman Ron Klein is working every day to stimulate the economy and on bipartisan solutions that will protect Florida homeowners, crack down on Medicare fraud and impose tougher sanctions on the rogue regime in Iran.”

West campaign manager Josh Grodin offered this take when the poll was released:

“This survey shows that how out of touch the politics practiced and preached by Ron Klein in Washington have become with the citizens of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. He is clearly in trouble, so I’d be expecting desperation to become an overall theme of his campaign.” 

Republican Allen West’s poll shows him edging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, 44-42

Monday, April 26th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional challenger Allen West’s campaign released a poll this morning that shows West with a 44-to-42 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.

The poll of 400 “likely general election voters” was taken April 18-19 by Republican polling firm Wilson Research Strategies and has a 4.9 percent margin of error. That makes the race a statistical dead heat — which is not good news for an well-financed, well-known incumbent.

The poll found West is known by 49 percent of District 22 voters and, among those who know him, is viewed favorably by 23 percent and unfavorably by 8 percent. Klein is known by 93 percent of voters and has a favorable/unfavorable score of 43/31, according to the poll.

Click here to read the polling memo.

Allen West to Pelosi: ‘Give me that damn gavel’

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional hopeful Allen West, already a YouTube star with a 2.1-million-view video from late 2009, has drawn more than 46,000 looks in three days for this posting by the conservative Shark Tank blog from Saturday’s opening of a campaign headquarters in Deerfield Beach.

“We are going to show them what committed and convicted Americans have always done since the days we stood up against the British republic,” West tells supporters. “This is about fighting a dishonest tyranny, fighting against people that will lie to the American people and say we’re doing all this for the betterment of your lives when all they are doing is creating more slaves so that they can have control over them.”

West is challenging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, but his strongest words in this clip are aimed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

When he’s elected and goes to Washington, West says, “I’m going to say one simple thing to Nancy Pelosi: Give me that damn gavel.”

Will Allen West’s expensive mail strategy work?

Monday, April 19th, 2010 by George Bennett

West

West

Republican congressional candidate Allen West’s money-raising numbers — $838,450 last quarter, more than $2 million overall — are among the most impressive in the nation.

But his burn rate has raised a few eyebrows.

West has already spent $977,853, including more than $500,000 on a direct mail effort that so far has yielded about $400,000 in contributions. But West and his team are confident the strategy will pay off in the long run.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Burn notice: GOP’s West raises and spends big in Klein challenge

Friday, April 16th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional candidate, YouTube celebrity and fund-raising phenom Allen West has raked in more than $2 million in contributions for his challenge of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton. But he’s already spent $977,853 — primarily on a direct-mail campaign with a group of Washington firms.

Reports filed Thursday show West raised $838,445 in the first quarter of 2010 to Klein’s $456,263. It was the second quarter in a row that West out-raised Klein in their nationally watched race. Overall, West has $1.1 million cash on hand while Klein has nearly $2.7 million in the bank.

Democrat Chris Craft’s report shows why he dropped his challenge of U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta. Craft raised only $29,909 in the first quarter before announcing his departure March 26.

Rooney raised $200,974 in the quarter and has $579,527 cash on hand. He was outdone during the quarter by his younger brother, Michigan U.S. House hopeful Brian Rooney, who raised $325,041 and has $443,005 on hand for his race up north.

Another big quarter for GOP’s Allen West: $838,449 more for Klein challenge

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional hopeful Allen West, whose viral YouTube video helped him raise $677,586 in the last quarter of 2009 and gain national attention, raised $838,449 during the first quarter of 2010, his consultant said.

West has raised more than $2 million overall for his challenge of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton. West’s campaign, which has spent heavily on a direct-mail effort, has more than $1.1 million cash on hand, consultant Ed Brookover said this morning.

Klein had nearly $2.4 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31. He hasn’t released a first-quarter report. Reports are due Thursday.

Video: Allen West rips Obama and quotes Sun Tzu, Margaret Thatcher and Plato on Hannity

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 by George Bennett

GOP congressional candidate Allen West, who’s challenging U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, had a sit-down with Fox’s Sean Hannity in The Villages Tuesday night and weighed in on President Obama’s nuclear weapons policy, Iran, Israel, American exceptionalism and other topics.

West didn’t mention Klein, but dropped in references to Sun Tzu, Margaret Thatcher and Plato.

Hannity’s takeaway: “I don’t think I’ve had a single interview where somebody has quoted Plato, Sun Tzu and Margaret Thatcher in one interview.”

Democrats: our bullseye targets on House districts are not like Palin’s crosshair targets

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 by George Bennett
Palin's map with crosshairs

Palin's map, with crosshairs

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee map with bullseyes

Democratic map with bullseyes

Sarah Palin’s use of crosshairs to target Democratic House incumbents is dangerous symbolism, Democrats say. But a party spokesman says it’s “a stretch” to compare Palin’s imagery to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s use of red and white bullseyes last year to target Republican incumbents.

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Dems blast GOP congressional candidate Allen West’s ‘make the fellow scared’ remark about Klein

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 by George Bennett

At a tea party gathering in Jupiter on Monday night, Republican congressional hopeful Allen West slammed U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, for not holding an in-person town hall meeting to discuss his vote for the sweeping health care overhaul bill.

West told activists they need to “make the fellow scared to come out of his house. That’s the only way that you’re going to win. That’s the only way you’re going to get these people’s attention. You’ve got to put pressure on them and make them understand that you’ve got to come back and live the laws that you establish. Don’t let them be a ruling class elite. You’ve got to let them know that the clock’s ticking.”

Broward County Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar replied with a lengthy statement today accusing West of stoking the “violent fringe that threatens our leaders.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is circulating Ceasar’s statement as well.

West says Ceasar’s response shows that “the liberals of Broward County are evidencing their fear of the American people, and our campaign, and OUR voices will not be silenced. If Nancy Pelosi’s puppet Congressman Ron Klein will not face his constituents, then yes, he should remain in his gated community home…”

Read the Ceasar and West statements after the jump….

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Crist scrubs Jupiter appearance

Monday, April 5th, 2010 by George Bennett

An advertised appearance by Gov. Charlie Crist at tonight’s Republican Club of the Palm Beaches powwow in Jupiter has been canceled. Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign cited a scheduling conflict.

Republican congressional hopeful Allen West will instead be the featured speaker at the club’s regular monthly meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Abacoa Golf Club at 105 Barbados Drive in Jupiter. Admission is $10 for GOP club members, $15 for non-members.

GOP foe blasts U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s ‘telephone town hall’ on health care

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, will discuss the recently passed health care overhaul bill with randomly selected seniors tonight in a “telephone town hall” meeting.

Republican challenger Allen West accuses Klein of using the format to duck a face-to-face meeting with unhappy constituents.

Klein took similar heat last summer when he hosted a teleconference on health care while many of his House colleagues were getting screamed at and YouTubed by angry voters at traditional town hall meetings. But Klein said the estimated 6,460 participants in his August phone event were far more than he would have reached in a flesh-and-blood meeting.

Sarah Palin promotes Allen West’s challenge of Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 by George Bennett

Palin

Palin

On her Facebook page, former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is supporting Republican congressional candidate Allen West and two other military veterans running for Congress.

Palin doesn’t mention West’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, by name, but calls the two-term incumbent “a leftwing ideologue who’s marched to the beat of Nancy Pelosi on every issue from cap-and-tax to the stimulus, TARP, and, of course, Obamacare.”

Klein, facing tough reelection bid, says he’s ‘comfortable’ with his vote for health care overhaul

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 by George Bennett

Klein

Klein

Democrats nationally could take a pounding for their sweeping health care overhaul bill, but U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, said today he’s confident his ‘yes’ vote is right for his senior-heavy district.

“I really have a good sense of the district and a sense of benefits that this bill will provide to the district,” Klein said in an afternoon conference call with reporters.

“Ultimately I think it’s the right thing to do and people will judge you based on using your best judgment and I’m very comfortable that I’m using my best judgment in making this decision.”

The legislation purports to reduce Medicare payments by $500 billion over the next decade without reducing benefits. Klein’s district has about 125,000 Medicare recipients.

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Democratic Rep. Ron Klein showing up on health care ‘undecided’ lists

Saturday, March 20th, 2010 by George Bennett

Klein

Klein

U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca, voted for the House health care bill and against the anti-abortion Stupak amendment in November. He’s been considered a likely vote for final passage of health care overhaul.

But Klein, who faces a well-financed GOP challenge from Allen West, is now listed as “undecided/unclear” in a vote count tonight by The Hill and “undecided” in a Washington Post head count.

Klein’s office wasn’t immediately reachable tonight.

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