WASHINGTON -- A new attack ad slams Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) for walking away from a constituent who asked him about stem cell research as she stood alongside her disabled son.
The ad, released Thursday by the Democratic group House Majority PAC, features Gary and Judy Susser and their two sons, one of whom is quadriplegic, has cerebral palsy and is blind. According to the ad, the Sussers met West at a charity event in February 2011 and asked him if he would support stem cell research, which they said would provide their son Adam the best chance at being able to see and walk. West, they say, just walked away.
"He just turned his back on all of us, on Adam, and walked away without saying a word," Judy Susser says in the ad, which shows video footage of her son. "If Allen West can turn his back on Adam, what will he do to you?"
The ad, called "Turn," is slated to air for more than a week in West Palm Beach. The Susser family lives in Boca Raton, also in West's district.
"Allen West is on the wrong side of issue after issue, whether it’s stem cell research or ending Medicare,” Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC, said in a statement. “But it speaks volumes about West that when asked to support stem cell research by a family, one of whose best hopes lies in this technology, he simply turned his back and walked away.”
West campaign spokesman Tim Edson said Susser's allegations weren't true.
"Congressman West has great compassion for the Susser family, for their son and the disabilities he faces," Edson said in a statement. "In fact, Congressman West corresponded with the Sussers and even invited them to attend two town hall meetings."
Edson said that it is "truly despicable" that House Majority PAC would "exploit a disabled child for their own political gain." He also suggested the Sussers are political opportunists, calling them Democratic activists who gave $26,000 to Democratic candidates, including West's 2010 opponent.
A search on OpenSecrets.org revealed Gary Susser donated a total of $21,900 to a handful of Florida Democrats between 1990 and 2011. Of that, $5,000 went to West's 2010 opponent, Ron Klein. Judy Susser, meanwhile, donated $2,000 during those years.
West's race against Patrick Murphy has become one of the most closely watched in the nation -- and one of the ugliest. West is currently leading Murphy by about 4.5 percentage points, per HuffPost Pollster.
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