Last week, I talked about Robert Wexler (D-FL) and the affront on his residential status. Turns out Wexler moved to Maryland with his family in 1997 upon winning his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be closer to his children. As a Congressman, he spends two-thirds of his time in Washington.
In turn, he sold his home in Palm Beach County and used his in-laws home as a base when he was down in his district. He has openly discussed this point since 1997 and has even written about this in his autobiography.
Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for Bill O’Reilly, his 2 opponents Republican Ed Lynch and former Democratic Broward County Mayor Ben Graber, and the Sun-Sentinel (which clearly has an issue with Wexler or a preference in Graber, judging by their so-called reporting).
This is a non-issue that has gotten way too much publicity (non-stop in the Sentinel for over a week) as it attempts to distract us from the impeachment hearings in which Wexler is involved. (Yes, an impeachment hearing that will not lead to impeachment because evidentially it is still off the table).
In an attempt to thwart this distraction, Wexler released the following statement:
“My wife, Laurie, and I have decided to lease a residence of our own in Palm Beach County.”
“Although I am confident that I have represented my district as well as anybody possibly could, I have heard the concerns of some of my constituents and do not want this issue to distract from my advocacy of the important issues facing our community and country.”
Here is the problem with this:
Wexler currently owns a home in Maryland and crashes at his in-laws in Florida. So his opponents say that he has lost touch with his district and doesn’t understand the tax problem here because he doesn’t own a home.
If Wexler owns a home in Maryland and a second home in Florida, his opponents would challenge that he is an elitist and out of touch with his constituents because how many people could afford two homes?
If he leases a home in Florida, this doesn’t fully resolve his opponents’ complaints either because he will not be paying homeowner’s taxes in Florida.
He’s in a no-win situation on this issue. By leasing a home in his district, he is hoping that this will die down and allow him to continue with the rest of the Congressional season and his re-election campaign.
Finally, Wexler is enormously popular in his district (though he took a hit by not supporting Hillary Clinton – Wexler was an early supporter of Barack Obama.). Lynch is a Republican in a very blue district. Graber and Lynch hope to capitalize on the voters who aren’t happy with Wexler. Graber is a former Democrat, running with no party affiliation hoping to draw some Democratic voters. Unless something bigger comes out before November, Wexler should win reelection with Graber and Lynch fighting for scraps.