Politics

Allen West Is Acting Like a Guy Running For President in 2016

South Florida had to know that booting Allen West out of Congress wouldn't mean an end to reading about Allen West's antics. The guy almost immediately landed a gig on Fox News after leaving Washington, after all.

Still, dealing with West's rants about Muslims and Obamacare on Murdoch's network is a different animal than dealing with Allen West, presidential candidate. That title may not be official yet, but West spent this past weekend in New Hampshire acting like a guy putting his name out there for 2016's GOP bid for the White House.

See also: Allen West, Uncut

West became a Tea Party hero during his two years in Congress, but alienated many more moderate conservatives in his district with a non-stop sideshow of hardline tactics in DC. His highlight reel included declaring that 80 percent of Democrats are "secret communists," declaring war on Islam as a religion, and slamming Lady Gaga.

But thanks in part to redistricting, he lost a tight race to Democrat Patrick Murphy last fall. His popularity with the GOP's Tea Party wing has stayed strong, though, and West is at least floating the balloon for a 2016 run.

He's hinted at the ambition in the past -- including comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, who served just one term in Congress before heading to the White House -- but this weekend marked a notable trip to early state battleground New Hampshire.

West chatted on an AM radio station, visited naval cadets and delivered a keynote at a Nashua Republican City Committee dinner.

A Facebook campaign to draft West for the presidential race has a respectable 10,000 likes, meanwhile.

Yeah, it's way to early to guess what Allen West is actually up to and you're much safer putting your money on that other one-time South Florida Tea Party Hero who's still actually a force on Capitol Hill. But unless he wins a Congressional race in the meantime, don't be shocked if this is only the first of many New Hampshire stops for the political firebrand.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink