Democratic challenger Ron Klein got a big boost from the Palm Beach Post in his bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Clay Shaw.
In Sunday's edition, the Post editorial board gave Klein a hearty endorsement while echoing many of Klein's criticisms of Shawnamely, his close ties to the Bush administration and a lack of leadership on hot topics like Iraq and energy independence. The editorial accuses Shaw of giving "the administration unqualified support for the war in Iraq and laws that purport to fight terrorism by infringing on Americans' rights." The editorial also says Shaw "backed the White House energy policy that will keep the nation addicted to oil" and faults the congressman, a veteran member of the House Ways and Means Committee, for facilitating a "soaring deficit under President Bush."
The Post's recommendation of Klein comes as the challenger's campaign is getting a second wind. Down to about $492,000 earlier this month, the Klein campaign received a much-needed cash infusion from a fundraising visit by former President Bill Clinton last week that was expected to reap as much as $500,000. In contrast, Shaw, at last reporting, had approximately $1.8 million on hand to carry him to the November 7 finish line. Klein's poll numbers are also seeing an uptick. A poll conducted by independent firm Research 2000 showed Klein in a near dead heat with Shaw.
With a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, the poll found Shaw with 48 percent of the vote and Klein narrowly behind, at 43 percent. That's an increase for Klein. An August poll, conducted by bipartisan group RT Strategies, showed Klein trailing Shaw by 8 percentage points, with a margin of error of 3 points.