Tea-Party-Backed Allen West Wins Seat in Congress from Florida

By Chris Johnson | November 3, 2010 | 5:52 PM EDT

Former Lt. Col. Allen West, newly elected to the U.S. Congress from Florida. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - A black conservative former Army officer who faced possible court martial in 2003 will be the newest congressman in Florida’s 22nd District.

Retired Lt. Col. Allen West unseated Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.), with 55 percent of the vote. Klein had 45 percent.

During a tour in Iraq, West interrogated an Iraqi police officer using the unconventional method of firing a pistol over the prisoner’s head to make him reveal information about a plot to ambush West and his men.

In a political advertisement, West had explained to voters that he was trying to protect his men, but that he had immediately reported his actions to his commander and was relieved of command.

“I just basically did something I thought was a matter of scaring the individual and threatened to shoot him. At first he continued to stonewall me and tell me he didn’t know anything so eventually we took him outside and I counted down and I fired my service Beretta 9mm over his head into a weapons clearing barrel,” West said.

West was given the option of resigning without his military pension or accepting military punishment action. He admitted wrong doing and received a fine of $5,000. During his hearing, however, West said he would do it again.

“If it's about the lives of my men and their safety, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can,” West told his defense attorney in testimony.

Neither the incident nor the fact that President Barack Obama had campaigned against him, kept the pro-life, small-government, lower-taxes conservative from being part of the “Republican wave” that swept last night’s elections to Congress.

West tried unsuccessfully in 2008 to unseat in Klein, after retiring from his 20-year military career in 2007.

During his campaign, West pulled no punches, calling for replacing the progressive income tax with a flat-tax. He also warned that the U.S. is at war with “a totalitarian theocratic political ideology that glorifies death rather than celebrating life.”

“No matter how great we make policies that ensure your prosperity, we will make sure that you are safe, because I know who the enemy is out there,” West said in his victory speech Tuesday night.

“And I am not afraid of confronting that enemy. And I am not afraid of making sure that this enemy knows what the United States of America believes about peace through strength, peace though life. We will no longer have a policy of compromise, negotiation and appeasement with the enemy,” he said.

West is Florida’s first black congressman since Reconstruction. The 22nd district include Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale

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