The race in Florida's 22nd Congressional District has been called white hot. But it's also uniquely green.
Across the country, Democrats are attacking Republicans on a typical strength: national security. In Florida, Republican Clay Shaw is turning the tables, attacking his Democratic opponent, Ron Klein, for his record on the environment. A television ad released by Shaw last week accuses Klein of accepting campaign money from "big sugar" while selling out restoration of the Everglades in the process. It's the third television ad for Shaw and the second highlighting his environmental record--an unusual strategy among Republicans but one that reflects Florida's strong bipartisan support for the environment, in particular the restoration of the Everglades.
In response, Klein has labeled Shaw a "hypocrite" for the criticism, calling Shaw's own environmental record "horrible." In truth, it's unlikely any politician from this part of the state would take a stance seen as unfriendly to the Everglades. And Shaw's efforts on the issue have been so well documented that he made them the focus of his first television ad, which did not mention Klein.
The current television spot attacks Klein for a vote he made in the state Senate in 2003 that extended the deadline for the sugar industry to cleanup of the Everglades. Defending himself, Klein denies that campaign contributions influenced his vote, noting that the bill passed unanimously and was supported by the Department of Environmental Protection and Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.