Florida 22nd Congressional District- The race is on
The 2006 Congressional elections are over a year away but the race is on here in Florida. I live in one of the most heavily contested seats for the last three elections, Florida's 22nd District. My congressman is Clay Shaw(R).
It hasn't always been this way. From 1978 to the 2002 redistricting, I lived or had my residency in what is now Florida's 19th district. Up till 1996, the seat were held by Democrats of moderate views, usually strong on national defense. First Dan Mica, and after Mica unsucessfully ran for the Senate, Harry Johnston.(Johnston ran for Governor in 1986 after leaving the state senate. He came a close third in the first primary. If he had come second, he could have well been Governor.)
I voted for both Mica and Johnston. Remember I'm a registered democrat but have long since grown disillusioned with the party. In 1978, 80, 84 and 88 the seat was fiercely contested. All but the first election(when I was only17) did I vote in. The seat which leaned Democratic to start with became a safe seat the party after the 1992 re-apportionment.(The last time a Republican seriously contested this seat was in 88. He lost 60%-40%) When Johnston retired in 1996, the seat was won by Robert Wexler who holds it to today.
Wexler is a shrill partisan, who is unashamedly liberal. Best known for his appearances defending Clinton during his impeachment, and for telling his jewish constituents who were protesting the high cost of matzo balls to have them Fedexed from up north. I don't miss Wexler at all. I've even given him a Knucklehead award.
Unlike Wexler, Shaw's seat has been hotly contested of late.(The district is in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties as is the 19th held by Wexler) First elected in 1980, Clay Shaw has seen tough opposition in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In the first Shaw only won by 599 votes over state legislator Elaine Bloom. In 02, Shaw faced popular County Commisioner Carol Roberts. The Dems poured in lots of money(over a million) and campaign ads, but Clay Shaw won 61-38%. In 2004 the Dems ran the mayor of Wilton Manors. He was an attractive candidate but was forced to withdraw due to health reasons.
For 2006 the Democrats are gearing up for another run at Clay Shaw. This time State Senator Ron Klein will be opposing Clay Shaw. Klein is being forced out of office due to term limits and has decided to run for Congress.
The race is already on, as today's Palm Beach Post chronicles. Klein is attacking Clay Shaw because he voted against hate crimes legislation in the House. The only local legislator to do so, even Mark Foley(R) from North Palm Beach voted for it. However 14 of the 25 Florida US house members voted against.
The salvos between Shaw and Klein went back and forth.
"This hate crimes legislation is noncontroversial and a matter of common decency," said Klein, of Boca Raton. "It is unconscionable that in South Florida, Mr. Shaw continues to be a rubber stamp for Tom DeLay and the ultra-conservatives in Congress."
In a statement, Shaw spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Klein is ignoring the facts and playing politics.
"If Ron Klein would have listened to the debate on the amendment, he would not have allowed that release to go out with his name on it," Gitcho said. "Every crime is a hate crime. People in this country are held responsible for their actions, no matter their thoughts or motivations behind the crime."
Just read this post of mine to know what I think of hate crime laws. This one issue won't be the only cause for how I vote in 2006. Still Klein's reaction to Shaw's vote doesn't incline to me to vote for him. He sounds like another Robert Wexler in the making. One is enough for me.
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