Brian Mast is the Power Line pick in the Florida-18 congressional race. Mast is running to fill the seat vacated by Patrick Murphy, who is trying to unseat Marco Rubio. John profiled Mast here.
Mast is a 12-year veteran of the Army, where he served in the Joint Special Operations Command as a bomb disposal expert, saving his fellow troops from IEDs. In Afghanistan, he defused one bomb too many. The last one exploded and cost Mast both of his legs.
In the course of his service, Mast was awarded the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Since his discharge, he has continued to work as an explosives expert for the Department of Homeland Security, served alongside the Israeli Defense Force, and earned a degree from Harvard.
Larry Sabato rates this race as the only “toss up” in a district currently held by a Democrat (he has 15 toss-ups in districts held by a Republican). It thus represents an excellent opportunity for a GOP “pick up.”
The momentum is with Mast. Charlie Cook recently changed his rating of the race from “toss up” to “lean Republican” status. Cook may be relying on a poll taken for Mast’s campaign that gives him a lead greater than the margin of error.
Perkins, a wealthy businessman, is playing the Trump card, of course. Earlier this week, he held a press conference and roundtable discussion with women elected to public office and women in other leadership positions. The focus, according to the Palm Beach Post was on issues important to women and on reminding voters that Mast backs Trump.
Perkins is making a smart, if somewhat desperate, move. In September, Trump led Clinton in this district, but now he trails by 6 points. It’s likely that the sexual harassment charges against Trump and the way he has responded to them have driven the swing against him.
In another desperate move, Perkins claims that Mast’s campaign of being “driven” financially by backers of a high speed train project that both Perkins and Mast oppose. TCPalm, part of the USA Today network, debunked Perkins’ claim.
Mast and Perkins will debate tonight for the second time. In their first debate, Mast hammered Perkins for saying he would “print more money for our seniors.” At last, a Democrat with an idea of how to pay for free stuff.
We are proud to be supporting Brian Mast, an American hero, in this key congressional race. You can support him by donating here. I just did.