If you're not following the Republican primary for Florida's Seventh Congressional District, you're missing one of the most interesting races in recent political history. This is my home district in Orlando, and I have a personal interest in this race, so I've been writing a lot about it (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for starters).
Here are some of the latest updates from the campaign:
Sandy Adams had a conference call with conservative bloggers last week. Jon Fleischman, who runs the excellent California-based blog, The Flash Report, participated in the call and was particularly interested in John Mica's role in the recent passage of a transportation bill, and Mica referring to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as his "soul mate." Jon wrote a very detailed post about the campaign, and the two candidates, beginning with a discussion of why the race merits attention and support from conservatives across the country:
Since the FlashReport is a website devoted to California politics, it is not as frequent that I write about political races in other states. But there is a Republican Congressional primary taking place in Central Florida that is so important that is worth my time to write about it, and for you to take a few minutes to read about it...
It is important to remember that conservatives in America are in the middle of two great battles, both of which must be won if we are to achieve our goals of a truly limited role for the federal government, and restoring greater freedom and liberty back to the people of this great nation. The first battle, the more obvious one, is against liberal Democrats...
We are reminded, however, that simply running a Republican “trifecta” of the Presidency, and control of both the U.S. Senate and House are simply not good enough...As we painfully saw last decade, when the GOP “had it all” — we managed to not only fail at shrinking the size and scope of government, but actually managed to increase it’s size (albeit at a slower pace than would have the Democrats). So the battle is within the GOP itself, to see that in the end pro-growth conservative Republicans are dominant in both the Senate and House Republican Conferences. It’s really important, because I will tell you that there is a great divide amongst Republicans in Washington, D.C., between those who see who controls government as the issue, rather than the actual growth in the size of the government.
It is with this two-front battle in mind that I want to talk about a key Republican primary taking place in Florida’s 7th District (centered around Orlando). Here, thanks to redistricting, you have Congressman John Mica, a twenty-year incumbent, locked in a battle with freshman Congresswoman Sandy Adams. The former, Mica, is a poster child for big spending Republicans, and the latter is a strong fiscal conservative who rejects crony capitalism and massive spending. Mica is currently the Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Transportation, from which he lords over levels of profligate spending that truly would make your eyes bulge...
Read the rest of the post here.
The Mica campaign has been playing it fast and loose with some of their attacks (just see the comments section at my post last week on the travel issue), and FactCheck.org had a pretty harsh judgment for one of the 20-year incumbent's recent mail pieces:
Finally, every Republican member of Congress running for reelection this year is claiming to be a fiscal conservative (Heck, most of the Democrats are too). In a time when the American economy continues to struggle and our national debt is careening towards $16 trillion, the voters are sick and tired of typical Washington waste.
The trick is matching rhetoric to reality, and Mica seems to have been caught in a yet another moment of hypocrisy. Mica has made claims of being a fiscal watchdog, and he can point to votes he's taken that support that. The problem is that there are other votes and positions he's taken that contradict this claim.
One such example is Mica's support for a $270 million expansion of the National Gallery of Art. I'm an art lover myself, but holy heck, is this really something that should be a top priority right now? Mica curiously declared last year that he had "no other priority" for the balance of his term, other than pushing forward this project, which would move the Federal Trade Commission from its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue and renovate the building for the art gallery.
Of course, this is the same Congressman who is running as a Republican and yet refuses to support banning earmarks, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised.