After a loss in the nation’s most expensive congressional race, former Rep. Allen West has turned defeat into a business empire. In fact, according to Ben Terris and Shane Goldmacher of National Journal, losing might be the best thing to happen to the Tea Party firebrand.
West visits the Capitol three times a week, conducting interviews for an Internet-based TV show. He has been extremely busy, both as a regular presence on Fox News and funding the non-profit Allen West Foundation. For the first half of 2013, the leadership PAC Allen West Guardian Fund received $1.3 million, putting him in one of the top tiers for former House colleagues.
So far this year, West was mentioned in more than 185,000 Twitter and Facebook posts, seeing the same volume as the first six months of 2012 when his name was mentioned 220,000 times during his reelection campaign. These numbers come from things like West accusing Democrats of being communists (there was national attention on that one). He has nearly 350,000 fans on Facebook, 150,000 of them joining the page since he conceded the race to Patrick Murphy for the U.S. congressional District 18.
With the rise of his personal brand, West — an ideological bomb-thrower in public — proves he is ready to be a team player behind the scenes.
West’s stated goal is to instill conservative values in a younger demographic — two of the fastest growing segments of voters. However, despite a growing fan base (as well as email list) and a desire to support conservative candidates nationwide, West insists he is not running for the 2016 presidential race. Instead, he tells reporters “God will decide what path for me to be on.”