First-term, Tea Party Republican Allen West will seek re-election in a new district, he announced Tuesday. The move improves West's chances for re-election, since his current, competitive Florida district recently became.
West will run in the new 18th district in South Florida, which is mostly comprised of the current 16th district. Republican Rep. Tom Rooney currently represents the 16th district, but he announced earlier Tuesday that he would seek re-election in the open 17th district rather than the new 18th district.
"I have always believed the state of Florida would be best served by having both Congressman Tom Rooney and myself in the House of Representatives working to solve our nation's most pressing problems," West said in a statement. "It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida's 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district. I welcome the challenges and excitement that lie ahead."
The challenges for West will be less substantial now that he's decided to leave the 22nd district, which became even more Democrat-friendly under the redistricting plan that the GOP-controlled Florida legislature unveiled last week.
It remains to be seen whether West will have broad enough appeal to win re-election; the conservative congressman is known for his strong allegiance to the Tea Party and his fiery rhetoric. At a Florida GOP dinner over the weekend, West told liberals to "get the hell out of the United States of America."