Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a star of Tea Party politics known for his attacks on Democrats, has another distinction to his name: Bringing in a lot of money.
West’s campaign has announced raising $1.75 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, with $2.7 million cash on hand. As the Palm Beach Post reports, however, West’s direct-mail efforts have also carried a big price tag and high burn rate — he spent $800,000 in the same quarter. And for this whole cycle has raised $5.85 million, more than twice his current cash on hand.
There is currently a Democratic primary between former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and businessman Patrick Murphy, a construction executive who has specialized in disaster relief and environmental cleanup.
West first ran for Congress in 2008, challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Ron Klein, losing by a margin of 55%-45% in a Democratic year. In the 2010 Republican wave, though, West defeated Klein by 54%-46% in this swing seat. (However, West lives in the much more Democratic adjacent district of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.)
West became a star of conservative political circles, and subsequently launched his political career, after his military career ended when he fired a pistol next to the head of an Iraqi policeman during an interrogation. West said this was done in order to stop an impending attack on his unit, but no evidence of such a plan was found based on the policeman’s coerced confession.
Since then, West has become known for declaring that America’s enemy is not just militant radical Islamism, but Islam itself.
He also said that in Congress he would remain focused that “this liberal, progressive, socialist agenda, this left-wing, vile, vicious, despicable machine that’s out there is soundly brought to its knees.”
He has also called President Obama, whom he makes sure to refer to as “Barack Hussein Obama,” a “a low-level socialist agitator,” and he responded to an attack by DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz by sending her a letter that declared she had “proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
He has also said that Democratic Party has created what he calls a “21st-century plantation” over black voters, with appointed African-American politicians to act as “overseers” — the men who committed the day-to-day atrocities of ruling over slaves in the antebellum South. “So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”