West’s race seen as bellwether for tea party nationwide

Florida’s 22nd Congressional District has for a few years been an interesting swing seat – shifting from the longtime stronghold of Republican Clay Shaw to a seat held by Democrat Ron Klein and back to the GOP with current seat holder Allen West. But with West’s prominence nationally because of tea party leanings, and the Democrats’ target on the seat, it’s now seen as key bellwether for the tea party’s staying power.

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West announced today he raised $1.9 million in his bid for re-election in the third quarter. Democrats say that may be so, but he spends it like crazy too. Still, his monster three months serves notice to the two Democrats seeking to challenge him that it won’t be easy. And both of those Democrats had what otherwise would have looked like really good quarters.

Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel has reported she raised more than $415,000 in the quarter while businessman Patrick Murphy raised $313,000.

West, a former military officer from Plantation, said he raised the money from more than 42,000 individual contributions , with an average contribution of less than $50. He also said nearly all of his contributions came from individuals.

The race for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District was already shaping up as one of the most expensive House races in the country, and may move up in that measurement after West’s report. Through the first half of the year, only Ohio’s 8th, Minnesota’s 6th and New York’s 26th had seen more money raised than was contributed in the South Florida race.

The News Service of Florida