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House Race Spotlight: FL-22

House Race Spotlight: FL-22

By Sean Trende - July 23, 2010


Those who believe that congressional districts should be geographically compact probably have no better posterchild for all that is wrong with redistricting than Florida's 22nd district. The district runs from the northern edge of Palm Beach County down to just north of Hollywood in Broward County, shooting occasional tentacles inland to grab GOP-leaning areas. The district just barely leans toward the Democrats -- it voted for John Kerry in 2004, but gave Barack Obama a smaller share of the vote in 2008.

The Congressman from the 22nd is Ron Klein, who narrowly defeated thirteen-term Republican Clay Shaw in the 2006 midterms. Klein has been a reliably liberal vote in the House, and voted for the health care bill twice. This raised some eyebrows, as the district contains a high number of retirees; Klein is perhaps counting on the closing of the prescription drug benefit's "doughnut hole" to offset the cuts in Medicare in his constituents' minds.

In 2008, Klein faced retired army Lt. Col. Allen West, who raised about a half million dollars and held Klein to 55% of the vote. West is now back for a rematch and has already raised an astounding $3.5 million -- a million dollars more than the incumbent. The 2010 battlefield is looking decidedly less favorable for the Democrats, especially among the elderly who dominate this district. RCP thinks that Klein is in for a tough race and starts this race as a Tossup.

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at strende@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

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