Rich Nugent Avoids a Firestorm on Immigration
Around the State
Rich Nugent was in the rare position of making headlines in recent days but avoided making a firestorm over his comments on immigrants.
Nugent appeared on WOCA in Ocala on Monday and offered his take on the border crisis, saying a “lot of these children” are “gang members” and “gang-affiliated.” Saying many of the illegal aliens come from “gang-infested” nations where they experience a “culture of thievery” and a “culture of murder, of rape,” Nugent warned about the impact they would have in America.
While some of the politically correct crowd tried to create a fury over Nugent’s comments, they garnered little notice when all was said and done. Even the DCCC didn’t go after Nugent’s remarks.
Part of that stems from Nugent’s background. Long before he was elected to Congress back in 2010, Nugent was an established leader in law enforcement, eventually becoming sheriff of Hernando County. Nugent warned about MS-13, which he defined as the “most aggressive of all the street gangs,” on the radio and this week saw a flood of stories about that gang at the border and around the country. On that front, Nugent appears to have had his finger on the pulse.
Nugent also got a bit of a pass since he has the luxury of what is shaping up as an easy re-election effort. Democrat businessman Dave Koller has an uphill fight on his hands as he tries to take Nugent down in November. By the end of June, Koller raised $7,160 from other individuals and is floating his campaign by loaning it around $23,800. With only $5,278 in the bank at the end of June, Koller needs to crank up his fundraising if he wants to be remotely competitive in this Republican district.
For his part, Nugent had $138,270 on hand at the end of June, thanks in large part to more than $147,300 in PAC donations. If needed, Nugent could easily bring in more. Regardless, nobody sees this race as competitive, which helps explain why the DCCC and other liberal groups didn’t make a big deal about his comments on immigrants. Throw into the mix Nugent being spot-on with his analysis and the matter simply did not draw much attention.
Despite his low profile, Nugent has been a fairly effective congressman in his first two terms. With Koller struggling along and national Democrats not even bothering going after him for his immigration comments, Nugent should expect to continue his congressional service for another two years.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.