One of the Tea Party's favorite congressmen, freshman Rep. Allen West of Florida, garnered several standing ovations Friday from a Papillion crowd of about 100.
West told the group at Eagle Hills Golf Course why he thinks they should re-elect his colleague, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., whose campaign organized the rally.
"If you don't send this man back to Washington, D.C., you are missing out," West said. He then called Terry's opponents "chuckleheads."
Terry, who is seeking his eighth term in the U.S. House, will face four other Republicans in the May 15 primary for the Omaha-based seat: Jack Heidel, a math professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Brett Lindstrom, a financial adviser; Glenn Freeman, former chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party; and Paul Anderson, who claimed pauper status when he filed.
Two Democrats are also vying for the seat: State Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha and Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing Jr.
In the 2010 election, Terry's Tea Party-affiliated challenger in the GOP primary took 37 percent of the vote.
Papillion resident Carol Cardin is a potential Tea Party voter for Terry. She said she's a fan of West, and she left the event excited.
Well, she said, "Lee's been put on the line, and he's trying."
West's speech criticized President Barack Obama for unemployment, gas prices and the national debt.
West, who is black, said his success is proof that the country works because he represents areas where his parents wouldn't have been allowed to go.
Now, he said, "I can call Rush Limbaugh my constituent."
Crowd members asked about immigration enforcement and the mainstream news media, suggested West should run for president and questioned whether progressives should be called "communists.''
A man who referred to himself as a liberal asked whether Terry and West believe in separation of church and state, or if they believe the United States is a Christian nation.
After some discussion, Chuck Fredrick, a former Bellevue city councilman, said: "We are a Christian country," echoing many in the room.
Contact the writer: