Republican Rep. Allen West kicked off his Treasure Coast campaign for congressional District 18 on Sunday with a rally, during which he criticized President Obama on a variety of issues, using phrases and language guaranteed to get attention, reports Rikki Klaus of WPTV.com
“He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave,” said West.
“I am offended by some of the things he says and does,” said Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder, West’s challenger in the Aug. 14 primary.
Outside the rally, about 30 protesters held signs and chanted, declaring their distaste for the man speaking inside the Port St. Lucie Civic Center.
The battle for the newly drawn District 18 Florida congressional seat will be one of the most closely watched races this political season.
As the congressional districts were redrawn, West moved from a Broward and Palm Beach County-based seat to seek the new District 18 seat, with a Treasure Coast majority.
The protesters said they wished West had stayed down south.
“He seems to represent the richest 1 percent of Americans, and he’s forgetting about the 99 percent of us … the rest of us who actually work for a living and try to provide for our families,” said protester Jeff Callahan.
The Tea Party favorite also advocated for energy independence and told about 500 audience members he wants to rebuild families.
“I’ll fight for them,” said West.
Crowder is West’s Republican opponent in the primary election. However, despite his name recognition on the Treasure Coast, Crowder has raised a small portion of the millions in West’s war chest.
Crowder upset many Republicans in 2010 by supporting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink. Still, he thinks his local ties and less polarizing demeanor make him the better candidate.
“I think trying to label some people that he would have to work with in Congress as being Communists … I just think that’s the wrong thing to do,” said Crowder.
Crowder’s camp is hoping to get the chance to debate West before the August primary.