Freshman Republican Rep. Allen West, and, was one of the top 2012 election targets of Democrats, who are hoping to take back his South Florida district and take out an outspoken Tea Party favorite.
But it turns out West is a moving target.
West announced yesterday that he is abandoning Florida’s 22nd district to run in another, more Republican district. A prominent Jewish Republican will reportedly try to take West’s place in the district.
Adam Hasner, a former majority leader of Florida’s House of Representatives, was running for the Republican nomination for Senate, but he had been trailing badly in the polls ever since Rep. Connie Mack IV jumped in the GOP race. Now reports say he will be running in the 22nd.
Even with the high-profile and polarizing West out of the picture, the race to win Florida’s 22nd could be a hard fought.
Two Democrats had been vying to replace West: Lois Frankel, the Jewish former mayor of West Palm Beach, and construction company exec Patrick Murphy (who until last year was a registered Republican), both of whom have been raising real money.
West beat Democratic incumbent Ron Klein in the 2010 Republican surge in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which hugs the coast in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Florida’s proposed redistricting map (drawn by the Republican state legislature, whose artistic license was limited somewhat by the state’s new redistricting reforms) has made it lean more Democratic.
On West’s decision to switch districts, CBS News reports:
West will run in the new 18th district in South Florida, which is mostly comprised of the current 16th district. Republican Rep. Tom Rooney currently represents the 16th district, but he announced earlier Tuesday that he would seek re-election in the open 17th district rather than the new 18th district.
"I have always believed the state of Florida would be best served by having both Congressman Tom Rooney and myself in the House of Representatives working to solve our nation’s most pressing problems," West said in a statement. "It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida’s 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district. I welcome the challenges and excitement that lie ahead."
A Miami Herald blogger labeled the shifting around of Republican candidates a “musical-chairs game” and cautions that things could change if Democrats successfully sue to redraw the redistricting maps.
The Forward recently profiled Hasner.