Florida Rep. Allen West (R) raised $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2012, according to documents filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.
“The fact that 97 percent of our contributions came from individual contributors, instead of Washington lobbyists and special interests, is a sign Americans want a strong constitutional conservative in the House that is willing to stand for the principles that made America great, regardless of the critics,” West said in a statement.
The West campaign reported $3.3 million in cash on hand. West’s challenger, Democrat Patrick Murphy, raised only $350,000 in the first quarter, but has about $1 million in the bank.
“Thanks to the generous financial support we have across the 18th District, Florida and the nation, we have the resources to continue advocating for policies to get our economy back on track by getting government out of the way and out of the pockets of hard working tax payers, return our nation to a fiscally responsible course, develop domestic energy resources to lower gas prices and move toward energy security, and continue to ensure we have the defense capabilities to meet future strategic challenges," West's statement continued.
In truth, since Allen West is perhaps the most controversial Republican candidate running for reelection, Democrats are salivating at the opportunity to unseat him. Even so, as outlined above, the Florida Congressman has about three times more cash on hand than his Democratic challenger, a testament to his popularity among grassroots conservatives and Tea Partiers.
In any case, given Rep. West’s meteoric rise in national politics, there have been whispers and rumors that the Florida Congressman is on Mitt Romney’s short list for potential running mates. If anything, his conservative convictions and outspoken approach to law-making are qualities that resonate with Republicans. In some ways, too, he would attract a plurality of voters who are disappointed with Mitt Romney’s congenital flip-flopping and seemingly weak conservative credentials.
On the other hand, at a town hall meeting last week, he told a crowd of supporters that he’s “heard” at least 78 House Democrats are card-carrying communists. This unsubstantiated and incendiary remark, not unexpectedly, has landed him in some hot political water. Still, whether or not this statement was a ploy to bolster his conservative image and raise money (as some have suggested), it does cast serious doubt about his ability to moderate his language during a presidential campaign. Needless to say – whatever happens – I don’t expect his coffers to dry up anytime soon.