How is it that Allen West, a clear GOP rising star, was handed a bad blow in redistricting by his won party? You’d think the Rs would want a guy around who can raise $2 million in 3 months, but no… Yes, many Democrats regard freshman Rep. Allen West as a supreme pain in the fanny. Yes, West says a lot of controversial things and yes, he is a courter or attention. Leaving all politics aside here’s what I want to know: Did he just get royally screwed in redistricting? The GOP controls the legislature and the governor’s mansion in Florida right? You’d never know it by the map West was dealt proposed by the Florida GOP controlled legislature. Right wing blogs are already saying it plain only days after seeing the maps: West was targeted. The only other Republican member who got it as bad as West was Tom Rooney.
Those same Florida maps reveal that several other GOP members of the Florida delegation (freshmen Reps. Dan Webster, Sandy Adams) escaped maps that could have ended their time in Congress. Somehow, Allen West was dealt one of the worst districts for a Republican in a district that was already a challenge for a Republican to begin with. When I asked West about his redistricting situation a little less than two weeks ago he emphasized that “it would have to go through the courts.” He hadn’t yet seen the map that would come out last week.
Love him or hate him Allen West is seen widely as a rising GOP star and Tea Party favorite (see the save allen west website). Even with his penchant for saying the most inflammatory things — the star keeps rising and his record fundraising numbers are undeniable. He’s even been mentioned by his active fan base as a potential President or Vice Presidential candidate. Even though many Democrats cringe hard at that idea, it would now appear to be that his political opposition is not doing him in but rather those in his own political party. What does this moment say about often spoken of GOP efforts to reach out to minority voters?
Republican Florida Rep. Will Weatherford (right), who is the chair of the committee that does redistricting for the state posted this nervous note on his facebook today:
“As the House Chairman of Redistricting, I have the responsibility to ensure there is a fair, open, and legally compliant process. The newly approved constitutional amendments, passed by more than 60% of Florida voters, require the legislature to follow a set of standards,” he said in a statement issued by his office. This is the first time the legislature has been required to follow these legal standards These new standards have resulted in disrupting the current districts for incumbents. The Tampa Bay Times [and the Miami Herald] stated that the House, Senate, and Congressional maps represent ‘a record-breaking shakeup in incumbency.’
“It has been reported that at least 38 members of the Florida legislature do not currently live in their district. There are rumors that the Florida Legislature has targeted Congressman Allen West. This is patently false. I personally have supported and endorsed Allen West. I will continue to support this extraordinary member of Congress who has brought a much needed conservative voice to Washington, D.C. However, my personal support cannot and will not trump the Constitution.” (Miami Herald full story)