Huffpost Politics

Allen West Draws Fire From All Sides In New Congressional District

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Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) hasn't been a candidate in Florida's 18th Congressional District for long, but already there are a number of people prepared to complicate his road to reelection.

On Tuesday, Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder, a Republican, announced that he decided to challenge West following the congressman's decision to switch to the more GOP-friendly district from the 22nd, which he currently represents.

West's move had a lot to do with Crowder's decision to jump into the race.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Crowder explained that he's running "to provide some local representation for a new district -- rather than having someone who's not really familiar with the district coming in and purporting to represent the people here. I just think the people need to have that option. If they choose to elect an outsider, that's their choice."

Crowder isn't the only challenge from the right that West might have to contend with.

The Palm Beach Post reports on Wednesday that South Florida Tea Party Chairman Everett Wilkinson is considering a third-party challenge to West, also over his belief that the 18th Congressional District needs a non-transplant option this fall.

"Congressman West doesn't live in this district. I've lived in this district four years," said Wilkinson, according to the Post. "There's local people in politics that may have considered running in that district who live there. Why shouldn't they?"

Wilkinson, whose Tea Party group hosted West at some of its events, will make a final decision about his candidacy in the next few weeks, the Post reports.

Democrat Patrick Murphy also displayed some excitement at the prospect of playing foil to West, following him to the 18th District this month after having previously intended to campaign against fellow Democrat and West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel for the party's nomination in the 22nd District.

Regardless of the reasoning behind a campaign, West could prove a tough challenge. The bombastic freshman congressman put up strong fundraising numbers recently, bringing in $1.75 million in the last quarter of 2011 and reporting $2.7 million total cash on hand.

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