Sun sets on Allen West

Author: Bob Norman, Reporter, bnorman@Local10.com
Published On: Nov 19 2012 08:28:30 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 19 2012 11:41:06 AM EST

It looks like the sun has finally set on the Congressional career of Allen West, an apparent one-term wonder. The deadline on his dubious recount has expired and he was losing ground in it to apparent winner Patrick Murphy anyway.

West, a Tea Party darling of darlings, still hasn't conceded and his campaign is calling for Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican ally, to "sort out" the election. This time, though, it really looks like he's beyond help. 

The loss means that a whopping $17 million in campaign backing for West from around the country has gone down the tubes. And Murphy, a political unknown, raised $5 million largely on the name of his opponent.

Don't make a mistake, West is a talented politician and strong speaker, but it was the words he chose that undid him. He lost because of the extreme things he said, like calling fellow members of Congress "communists," his personal attack on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz ("you are not a Lady"), calling President Obama a "low-level Socialist agitator," and his supporters "a threat to the gene pool." His constant attacks on Muslims may not have helped him either.

West was so polarizing that he was used as a prop in negative ads against Sheriff Al Lamberti. Which brings us to a new question: Did a snub at a $50,000-a-plate dinner with Mitt Romney really help to decide the Broward County Sheriff's race?

That's what members of Sheriff-Elect Scott Israel's camp are saying. They say Hillsboro Mile multimillionaire Robert Pereira was inspired to put $245,000 into attack ads against Israel's opponent, Sheriff Al Lamberti, because he was miffed at the seating arrangement during an August 13 Romney fundraiser at the home of car dealer Michael Maroone. Apparently Pereira was seated too far away from the Republican presidential candidate for his liking.

According to the story, Pereira blamed his neighbor, car dealer and fellow dinner co-host Rick Case, for the snub. And he knew Case was a huge supporter of Lamberti. To get back at him he gave the $245,000 to a PAC supporting Israel from his Massachusetts-based construction company, Middlesex Corporation.

We can't know if this is true -- Pereira hasn't responded to messages. But Pereira's money was crucial for the Israel campaign, kick-starting it just a couple weeks before Election Day at a time when Israel was out of money and his campaign seemed out of steam. 

Israel and his camp say Pereira has and will ask for nothing return for the money. The official story from Israel is that Pereira is a friend who liked him and simply wanted to help him become sheriff.