Here we are, 16 months before the next congressional election, and U.S. Rep. Allen West of Florida is already the focus of robocalls.
The calls are driven by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which believes West is vulnerable as he seeks reelection in a district traditionally considered hostile to conservative candidates.
Six months ago West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a conservative Republican, created a sensation when he won election in his South Florida district. The victory didn’t come easily, as he had lost twice in the past before finally winning the seat in November.
It’s no surprise that the national Democratic Party machine is putting money and time into getting West out of office. House Democrats need 24 seats to retake the House majority they lost in November.
The focus of the campaign committee’s robocall call is Social Security — always an issue for a politician from South Florida, with its heavy population of retirees. Florida’s seniors are politically active and always participate on Election Day.
“What does Congressman Allen West have against seniors?” asks the robocall ringing through his district. “First West voted with his Republican leadership to end Medicare while protecting subsidies for Big Oil and tax breaks for billionaires. Now, they are trying to privatize Social Security. Republican leaders’ scheme to gamble the Social Security that seniors worked a lifetime to earn on Wall Street is way too dangerous. One bad market could wipe out years of savings, putting generations of retirees at risk.”
After voting in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would radically revise Medicare and make drastic cuts to Social Security, West may have some explaining to do with Democrats and older voters.
West asserts that if Medicare is not fundamentally changed then the program won’t be around when he turns 65 in 15 years. “We have got to do something about this program or else,” he told voters a town hall in early June. “It won’t even be here for some of the seniors who are about to enter this program.”
That’s not an unreasonable response. Whether it is convincing one, in a district that leans left and has a high number of retirees, remains to be seen.