Michael O’Brien, The Hill, July 8, 2010
Allen West, the Republican challenging Rep. Ron Klein (D) in Florida’s 22nd congressional district, sharply criticized the Obama administration for having allegedly declined prosecuting the New Black Panther Party on voter tampering charges for political reasons.
“For an Administration that promised a new era in race relations, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have demonstrated that race will continually be exploited for political gain,” West, who is one of two African-American Republicans running for Congress who have survived their primaries, said in a statement.
“The die has been cast in this election cycle–Democrats and their liberal progressive socialist allies will continue to play the race card when it is politically expedient,” West said. “I demand an investigation of the New Black Panther Party and the placement of it, along with any extremist group, onto the Terrorist Watch List if warranted. If that is not done prior to my taking the oath of office as a United States Congressman, it will happen soon thereafter.”
West is seen as a top challenger to Klein after having come closer than expected to the incumbent Democrat in 2008. Republican Tim Scott is seen as likely to win his race in South Carolina’s first congressional district this fall, too. Either man, if elected, would be the first African-American lawmaker in the GOP since former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), who retired in 2003.