A screenshot from Rep. Allen West's campaign ad "Body Armor." (Allen West for Congress…)
WASHINGTON – An Iraq war veteran has come to the aid of his former boss, Rep. Allen West, to tell how the Florida congressman handed over his body armor on the way to combat in Iraq, an act that might have saved the soldier’s life.
In a campaign spot that will air on Florida television during the Olympics, Sgt. Robert Delgado (Ret.) says he worried when he was deployed to Iraq that he might not make it home to see his new child – his wife was eight months' pregnant at the time.
“I’m going to make sure you come home to your wife and your newborn baby,” Delgado recalls West saying to him. West, who was Delgado’s commander at the time, handed his body armor to the soldier.
“This car came flying by and this AK-47 just starts firing,” Delgado says. “And I got shot. If I hadn’t had that body armor, though, I don’t think I’d really be here because where it hit is where my lung was.”
“Because of that, I’m here today,” Delgado says in the ad, which was first reported by Politico.
West, the first black Republican congressman to represent Florida since Reconstruction, is considered one of the more vulnerable incumbents this election cycle. Redistricting has forced him to campaign for another term in a different district, where he must introduce himself to a new set of voters.
He’ll face Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder in the Republican primary on Aug. 14. His likely Democratic challenger will be Patrick Murphy, an executive whose company helped clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In his short time in Congress – he was elected in 2010 after more than 20 years of military service – West has become known for controversial statements. Earlier this year, he declared that House Democrats were “communists.” Last year, he penned a letter to fellow members of Congress, in which he called Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat, “vile, unprofessional and despicable” for criticizing his stance on Medicare.
More recently, he has accused President Obama of wanting Americans “to be his slave and be economically dependent on him.”
West is also one of the most effective fund-raisers in Congress. He’s raised at least $10 million this election cycle, and that figure doesn’t include the money he brought in since the end of June.
And the “Body Armor” ad could provide a boost. West’s campaign website is calling on supporters to donate to help keep the ad on the air.
Watch the full ad below:
Follow Politics Now on Twitter