Catching Up with Rep. Allen West
Q. Congressman West, you have decided to run for reelection in newly drawn Florida District 18, where there are more Republican registered voters, instead of your current Florida District 22 that will also be redrawn to include more registered Democrat voters. This decision points to a realization that your conservative message only plays well in Republican-leaning districts, and that if you stayed in your current District 22 your chances of reelection would have been substantially reduced. Why do your strongly held conservative principles seem to be so polarizing among the general voting population?
A. Conservative principles are not new -- after all, our nation was founded on conservative principles of limited government, individual responsibility, and a strong defense. The problem is these principles have been ignored by the liberal progressive politicians and certain media which have convinced much of the voting population that government can solve all their problems, will take care of them from cradle-to-grave, and it is our nation’s fault that our enemies wish to do us harm.
Traditional conservative principles are threatening to a populace spoon-fed liberal progressive lies and misrepresentation.
Q. Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder will be challenging you in a GOP primary in FL-18. Crowder has said that “outsiders shouldn’t be able to move in and get a free ride.” Are you concerned about Crowder’s primary challenge? Will Crowder’s entry into the race force you to make any changes to your campaign strategy or message?
A. Every member of the House of Representatives must stand for reelection every two years. There is no such thing as a “free ride.” It is up to the voters to decide who will best represent them on Capitol Hill. My conservative message is not a campaign strategy, it is my fundamental belief. I always have and will continue to stand for the strong conservative principles on which this nation was founded.
Q. The conventional wisdom among Democrats is that you are “too radical.” Do you resent that label? Do you believe there is any truth to that moniker?
A. What concerns me deeply is that today, the traditional principles upon which this great nation was founded are somehow considered “radical.” Some argue 236 years ago, the idea of forming a nation where power derives from the individual and not from a monarch was “radical.” The fact that patriotism, belief in God and a willingness to fight for our constitutional freedom and liberties is labeled by some as “radical” simply demonstrates to me how misguided liberal Democrats have become.
Q. Democrat congressional candidate Patrick Murphy, who was in a primary battle with Democrat Lois Frankel for the opportunity to run against you in FL-22, announced on February 8 that he is now following you to FL-18, where he most likely will be your opponent in the November general election.
When Mr. Murphy announced his intent to run against you in FL-18 he said the following: “Today our campaign is putting Mr. West on notice. … There is no safe district he can run to.”
Please comment on Mr. Murphy’s assertion that you are running to a safe district.
Q. Regardless of what any Democrat says about you, the fact remains that your message is resonating with conservatives. The proof is you have raised just under $5.8 million from around the nation in the 2012 election cycle.
This is remarkable because it is more than any member of Congress except Speaker of the House John Boehner, who raised $12 million. By comparison, fellow Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz raised just under $1.7 million.