PLANTATION, Fla. - The Allen West and Ron Klein campaigns for Florida's Congressional District 22 seat was a closely watched race.
In the end, it was Republican West who defeated the Democrat incumbent Klein. Klein is an attorney and a long-time politician. West is a retired Army lieutenant colonel.
West knows his win has tremendous historic value.
"The impact has not really set in for me but it is something to think about when you're the first black Republican Congressman in the state of Florida since reconstruction. But the key thing is to go to Washington, DC and be a good congressman and that's my focus," said West.
West ran against Klein two years ago and came relatively close to winning.
The congressman-elect knows there are those who feel he was not qualified to represent the district in Washington.
"Leadership is based upon merit...it's based upon talent. And I think that in the arena of ideological ideals and discourse I presented myself and the voters chose me and I'm not looking for them to like me or love me but they will respect me," said West.
West said the campaign was tough on his wife and two young daughters.
Before he heads to Washington, DC, West plans to enjoy some family time and start setting up a transition team and build his congressional staff.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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