Alcee Hastings Rallies Democrats Against John Boehner in Primary's Final Days
Around the State
Facing two serious challengers in the primary next week, Alcee Hastings has found a way to rally Democrats to his banner by going after John Boehner.
Hastings has been stringing together electoral wins for more than two decades and he has a pretty secure grip on one of the most Democratic districts in the nation. But he has two major opponents this time out in Jean Enright, who sits on the Palm Beach County Port Commission, and former heavyweight boxing star Jameel McCline. Hastings should handle both of them though neither is an easy out.
But Hastings is looking to push back against Boeher’s lawsuit against Barack Obama. In fact, Hastings has been calling for a counter lawsuit against Boehner for suing Obama.
Democrats will, of course, rally behind Hastings’ proposal. But Republicans would welcome Hastings as the Democratic face against Boehner’s lawsuit. After all, back in 1988, Hastings was impeached by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House due to bribery and perjury with only three congressmen voting against his removal as a federal judge.
Hastings simply isn’t who the Democrats want out front and center on this issue and he has been a target for Republicans before. Back in 2010, before Republicans won back the House, Boehner had a field day against Hastings, releasing a video in which the Florida congressman said the Democrats in charge of the House made the rules up as they went along.
In the primary next week, Hastings should easily fend off both Enright and McCline. How large a margin Hastings wins by could impact his future as other Democrats look to move up to a very secure seat. Hastings has been around for decades. He lost to Lawton Chiles in a Senate primary all the way back in 1970 and has had a firm grasp on his congressional seat since winning it for the first time in 1992.
Hastings is now 77 but it’s tough to imagine him leaving anytime soon on his own accord. Neither Enright nor McCline is a political heavyweight but they aren’t pushovers by any stretch. They are dividing the anti-Hastings vote which should help the congressmen cruise to another term.
But a narrower win might not help Hastings in the long haul. Hastings has made a few gaffes over the years and he’s shot himself in the foot over everything from Sarah Palin to nepotism to facing sexual harassment accusations. Ambitious Democrats looking to move up the ladder will be taking notes on how Hastings does next week.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.