Sabato's Crystal Ball

Florida (22) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Ron Klein, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Allen West, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5, 2010

n 2008, first-term Democrat Ron Klein handily dispatched underfunded Republican nominee Allen West. This year, West is back and with the money and momentum to make for a much closer race. Both Democratic and Republican polls show this race to be currently within the margin of error and the Crystal Ball rating is changing from Leans D to Toss-Up.

Update: August 9, 2010

Democratic incumbent Ron Klein is facing Republican challenger Allen West in a rematch from 2008.  Klein has raised $2.9 million so far, while West has $2.1 million in the bank.   With 97.8% of his votes being party-line, Klein may have to defend some of his votes from recent months.  Also, West has been endorsed by the Tea Party.

Background:

2nd term Democratic incumbent Ron Klein is the first Democrat to have been elected in this District since it was first created after the 1990 census. He unseated then-incumbent E. Clay Shaw in 2006 with a 3 percent win, and then fended off Allen West in 2008 and increased his victory margin to nearly 10 percent. The coastal 22nd District, which includes much of Fort Lauderdale and ritzy Boca Raton, maintains a slight, but consistent, Democratic tendency in presidential elections.  Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama won here by roughly 3.3 percent in their respective elections, and a decent demographic balance between working class minorities and wealthy families prevents any one party from overwhelmingly dominating at any election level.

Klein is up against a familiar foe in 2010: his 2008 opponent, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West.  The margin of victory might be lower with a lagging economy, but right now it is difficult to believe that West, with no public office experience and a platform that advocates financial deregulation, could unseat Klein.