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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
The politically competitive 22nd district has been shifting toward Democrats since 2004, but Republicans think this is the year to reverse the trend. To do it, they've turned again to 2008 nominee Allen West, a retired Army officer who took 45 percent against Klein last cycle.
West became an early champion of the tea party movement this cycle after a fiery speech he gave last fall in which he called on voters to challenge their "tyrannical" government. The speech became something of an Internet sensation and helped West earn a speaking role at the Conservative Political Action Conference, as well as an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). West has become one of the top fundraisers of the cycle, far outpacing the Congressman, and has been embraced as a top recruit by the national party.
Democrats say the tea party icon is far too extreme for the district. Democrats have also called him dangerous, pointing to an incident that helped end his military career in which he was charged with assault after firing a gun next to the head of a detainee he was interrogating.
The tea party movement has proved to be a powerful force this cycle, but at this point it doesn't appear to be strong enough in coastal Broward and Palm Beach counties to get West over the top.
District Profile from Politics in America
The 22nd follows Route A1A down a sliver of Atlantic coastline from northern Palm Beach County to Fort Lauderdale in Broward County. Although it reaches inland in places to pick up middle-class suburbs and gated communities, the district is defined by its upscale beachfront areas, including parts of Boca Raton. Mostly white and well-off, the 22nd has a large Jewish population.
The district has a corporate presence and is home to major transportation hubs -- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach. It boasts ritzy hotels and shopping centers, and the ports attract cruise line and shipping business. Economic downturns stalled some development, and revenue losses and layoffs hit retail, construction and financial services sectors. The wealth of many district residents helps protect them from economic pressures, but the area depends heavily on tourism. Several large hospitals and the local health care industry, serving a large elderly population and many military veterans, support the district's economy.
Social Security, the Middle East and port issues top the political agenda here. Residents also are concerned about roads, as urbanization and development have stretched aging infrastructure and exacerbated heavy traffic problems. Republicans no longer hold a voter registration edge in the 22nd, and the district is politically competitive. Barack Obama won here with 52 percent of the district's vote for president.
Health care, tourism, shipping
Boca Raton (pt.), 65,152; Fort Lauderdale (pt.), 62,122; Pompano Beach (pt.), 47,088
The International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum is in Fort Lauderdale.
|2010||general||Allen West (R)||118,890||54.4%|
|Ron Klein (D)||99,804||45.6%|
|2008||general||Ron Klein (D)||169,041||54.7%|
|Allen West (R)||140,104||45.3%|
|2006||general||Ron Klein (D)||108,688||50.9%|
|E. Shaw (R)||100,663||47.1%|
|Neil Evangelista (X)||4,254||2%|
|2004||general||E. Shaw (R)||192,581||62.8%|
|Robin Rorapaugh (D)||108,258||35.3%|
|Jack McLain (CNSTP)||5,260||1.7%|
|2002||general||E. Shaw (R)||131,930||60.8%|
|Carol Roberts (D)||83,265||38.4%|
|Juan Xuna (I)||1,902||0.9%|
|Stan Smilan (Write-In)||18||0%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 52%||John McCain: 48%|
|2004||John Kerry: 51%||George W. Bush: 49%|
|2000||Al Gore: 51%||George W. Bush: 46%|