WASHINGTON -- Bob Crowder, the Republican who ran against Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) in the primary, announced Wednesday that he is endorsing Democrat Patrick Murphy in the congressional race. And he didn't mince his words.
“As a Republican for over 30 years, I'm embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party. Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he's made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district,” Crowder said in a statement.
Crowder, who is the Martin County Sheriff, said he is backing Murphy because "he has the right temperament and respect for others -- including people he doesn't agree with."
Crowder said Murphy can work with both parties and will be a congressman that Florida's 18th District can be proud of, "unlike his opponent."
Crowder has been mum on the West-Murphy race until now. But his wife, Debbie Crowder, endorsed Murphy earlier this month. She cited the fact that West wouldn't shake her husband's hand at a local GOP meeting as one of the reasons behind her Murphy endorsement.
A West campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Murphy said in a statement that it is an honor to receive the endorsement from someone "who puts the interests of his community above politics."
With less than a week to go, West and Murphy are still running in a tight and ugly race. Both campaigns have pointed to polls showing each candidate ahead of the other one. HuffPost Pollster currently shows West leading by 1.7 percentage points.
UPDATE: 8:25 p.m. -- West campaign spokesman Tim Edson claimed Crowder isn't really a Republican.
"Crowder is a Democrat and a sore loser. I’m shocked he waited this long. Perhaps Crowder hopes to continue cozying up to local Democrats so he can be their nominee against Allen West in 2014," Edson said in a statement.
Also on HuffPost:
The Republic Will Collapse
"It's much the same as Alexis de Tocqueville talked about in 'Democracy In America' -- that this American republic will collapse once Congress and obviously our president realizes they can bribe the public by using the public's treasury," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/allen-west-obama-republic-will-collapse_n_1428851.html" target="_hplink">told a Florida Tea Party group</a>.
"I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party," Allen West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/allen-west-democrats-communist-party_n_1417279.html" target="_hplink">said at a town hall</a>. "It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
"You want to talk about something that's really racist?" West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/allen-west-tanning-salon-tax-racist-_n_1408454.html" target="_hplink">said at a Florida retirement home</a>, referring to a 10 percent tax on tanning salons. "They have a tanning tax. I'm not tanning."
Mocking Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) for wearing a hoodie on the House floor, West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/allen-west-bobby-rush-hoodie_n_1389170.html" target="_hplink">said</a>, "I'm thinking about a University of Tennessee big orange colored hoodie-footie, and, you know, see if I can sneak by the security and get in there."
"This is another example of the bureaucratic nanny-state not considering the economic ramifications of its insidious regulatory policies," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/allen-west-handicapped-access_n_1385186.html" target="_hplink">said of a proposed regulation</a> to make all public pools handicapped-accessible. "I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing."
"Anyone challenging me on my support to this visionary plan to restore our economic security will be signing up for a suicide mission," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/allen-west-paul-ryan-budget_n_1372386.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> about the Ryan budget. "My recommendation to any detractors, read Proverbs 17:28 and heed its advice. It is time for those who understand how to govern, not demagogue."
West credited the possibility of a Republican winning the 2012 election for helping improve the stock market. "I would think maybe the markets are looking five to six months down the road when we have a change in leadership in this country," <a href="http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/03/allen_west_says_stock_market_i.php" target="_hplink">he said on Fox</a>.
Osama Bin Laden
West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/allen-west-obama-osama-bin-laden_n_1316160.html" target="_hplink">wrote on his Facebook</a> that Barack Obama should stop talking about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. "Please stop with the Osama Bin Laden line, U.S. Navy SEALS double-tapped that rascal," he wrote.
West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/allen-west-second-holocaust-israel-iran_n_1304297.html" target="_hplink">warned</a> that the U.S. might not be doing enough to protect Israel against Iran: <blockquote>"You're looking at a second Holocaust" if Israel doesn't "know they can trust and depend upon the stars and stripes ... to provide them support," West told attendees of a town hall meeting last week at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to the Palm Beach Post.</blockquote>
'Insidious Form Of Slavery'
"The Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today, and it does not promote economic freedom," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/allen-west-slavery-democratic-handouts_n_1281570.html" target="_hplink">said in a speech</a>.
'Get The Hell Out'
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else," West <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/allen-west-liberals-get-out-florida-primary-2012_n_1239247.html" target="_hplink">said, referring to Democratic leaders</a>. "You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/allen-west-joseph-goebbels-democrats-propaganda_n_1152365.html" target="_hplink">West said in a speech</a>.
"I'm here as the modern day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility," West said while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/18/allen-west-harriet-tubman_n_930052.html" target="_hplink">making an analogy</a> in which he also compared black leaders like Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to a "plantation boss."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
In an email to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/19/allen-west-debbie-wasserman-schultz_n_904047.html" target="_hplink">West wrote</a>, "You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up."