Tags: Congressman | Foley | Aims | Topple | Sen. | Graham

Congressman Foley Aims to Topple Sen. Graham

Wednesday, 18 June 2003 12:00 AM

“I am fully committed to this race,” whether or not Graham seeks re-election to the Senate in 2004, the popular South Florida congressman said during a visit to NewsMax’s corporate headquarters.

Graham “has gone on a liberal left-hand turn” and has lost touch with increasingly Republican Florida, he noted.

The Washington Times agrees that “Foley is the front-runner for the nomination.”

His leading competitor: Bill McCollum, a good congressman and honorable man who ran such a poor Senate campaign against lightweight Democrat Bill Nelson in 2000 that he lost even in his own district. The names of Rep. Dave Weldon and a couple of other low-key figures have also been bandied about.

Foley isn’t worried about these rivals. He says a colleague told him, “They experimented with charisma in the '70s.”

Foley is a solid Republican with strong conservative credentials. He has also demonstrated the ability to win swing and Democrat areas, having won decisive elections in the 16th District with support from voters in notably liberal Palm Beach County.

As for media reports that freshman Rep. Katherine Harris, still famous from the 2000 presidential election fiasco, is considering the Senate race, Foley thinks she’ll wait and avoid being branded as having used her House district as a “stepping stone.”

As for talk that the White House is urging HUD Secretary Mel Martinez to run for the Senate seat, Foley says it would be a “brilliant move” by Karl Rove and company to back Martinez, an immigrant who became “an American success story,” except that Martinez has told Foley he’d rather stay in Florida and succeed Jeb Bush as governor. Today Martinez made just such an announcement.

That leaves Mark Foley, who after all is an American success story in his own right.

He opened a restaurant at age 20, launched a catering business and began an independent real estate business. He started his political career at age 23 on the Lake Worth City Commission and entered the Florida Legislature in 1990, back in the dark days when Democrats controlled it.

Both branches of the state legislature are now overwhelmingly Republican, the governor is a Republican and most of the congressional delegation is Republican, even though Democrats still hold an edge in registered voters. Next the GOP wants Florida’s two U.S. Senate seats.

The Democrats are “irrelevant, pessimistic and bereft of any ideas to lift the economy,” Foley told NewsMax. They have a “gleeful hope that things go bad,” a cynicism that doesn’t “sit well with the country.”

Examples of Democrat extremism and Foley’s solutions:

The Wall Street Journal and NewsMax’s Insider Report have revealed how the Democrat establishment, frustrated that front-runners such as Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Dick Gephardt reluctantly supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, has turned the formerly mild Graham into its attack dog.

Once having a reputation for nonpartisanship, but with his White House campaign now lagging, he accuses the president of all manner of conspiracies on 9/11 and Iraq in an obvious bid for the vice presidential slot in 2004. No wonder Graham trails President Bush even in Florida polls.

Foley has a far different view of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He notes that Syria is now “singing a new tune” and backing off its support of terrorism. And he thinks that by excluding Yasser Arafat from negotiations, President Bush has boosted chances of peace in Israel.

Support for the popular president, in fact, is a cornerstone of Foley’s Senate campaign. By backing Bush 90 percent of the time in the House, he boasts of being one of the president’s most consistent allies in Congress and ranking third out of Florida’s 23-member delegation.

The five-term congressman has won praise from National Rifle Association, National Taxpayers Union, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Businesses. American Conservative Union reports his lifetime rating as 81 percent.

Foley is confident this record is more in tune with Floridians than Graham or any Democrat who tries to replace Graham.

Perhaps one day Florida’s governor will be telling Senate contenders, “You can be the next Mark Foley.”

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"I am fully committed to this race," whether or not Graham seeks re-election to the Senate in 2004, the popular South Florida congressman said during a visit to NewsMax's corporate headquarters. Graham "has gone on a liberal left-hand turn" and has lost touch with...
Wednesday, 18 June 2003 12:00 AM
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