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Politics

Dan Webster Gets an Early Start on 2014

June 6, 2013 - 6:00pm

Congressman Dan Webster, R-Fla., has a reputation of being something of a slow starter. When he challenged Alan Grayson back in the 2010 election cycle, after much pondering, Webster only entered the race in April 2010.

But as he gears up for a third term in Congress, Webster is taking no chances and has started his re-election efforts early. Webster sent out a fundraising appeal to supporters on Friday in which he bashed the IRS on Friday.

Like you, Im shocked and dismayed by the recent news from the Obama IRS, showing that officials have been targeting conservative groups in a shameful political overreach, Webster wrote. The IRS abused its considerable powers for political purposes, in addition to their egregious and wasteful spending that has eroded Americans' trust in government. Its a new low, and Im disappointed by each revelation that comes to light.

Webster promised to work hard in Washington to get to the bottom of this scandal before turning his attention to the 2014 election cycle, noting that he ranks as a top target for Democrats.

The Democratic Campaign Committee (DCCC) and liberal groups such as EMILYS List have pledged to try and defeat me and have even placed billboards targeting me in my district 17 months before the next election, Webster wrote.

Webster is one of 10 Republican congressmen around the nation that the DCCC launched billboard attacks on. The DCCC is targeting two other Republicans in Florida -- Steve Southerland and Bill Young -- with billboards, bashing them for putting radicalism and partisanship ahead of solutions for the middle class.

Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for the DCCC, explained the logic behind the billboards when they were launched in April.

Every day when these members constituents drive home, they think of how they will pay their bills, support their families, and pay for their health care and retirement and now they will be reminded that their Republican member of Congress would rather put radical ideology ahead of solutions for those worries, said Bittner. The Republican budget puts millionaires ahead of the middle class and partisanship before solutions, and now Republicans will not be able to hide from their radical records, because they are in plain view. Instead of offering bipartisan solutions, these House Republicans have chosen partisanship again.

But while the DCCC is already attacking Webster, they have yet to field a candidate against him. Webster already has a Republican primary challenger in David Allen Seeley but the incumbent is a very heavy favorite.

While Central Florida is growing increasingly Democratic, Webster has compiled some impressive victories in recent years. He routed Grayson, beating him by 18 percent in 2010. Democrats had high hopes for Val Demings in 2012 and she had Barack Obamas and Bill Nelsons coattails. But Webster still beat her by almost 3.5 percent in November. There has been talk of a rematch in 2014 but Demings has done little to indicate she will run again.

For the moment, no Democrat is lining up against Webster. That should change -- and based on Websters message on Friday, he is clearly expecting a major opponent from the Democratic ranks.

Tallhassee freelance political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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