Republican candidate Dan Franzese gets up close and personal with voters as the race for Congress heats up.
by Josh Miller
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – Two weeks before Florida’s primary, the state’s 22nd Congressional District race is heating up. The incumbent, Democrat Lois Frankel, reported nearly $1.7 million in campaign contributions as of June 30th – twice that of her five competitors combined.
Frankel has been a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis. A five-term congresswoman and former mayor of West Palm Beach, she has represented Florida in the U.S. Congress since 2013. Frankel is now being challenged by Republican candidate Dan Franzese.
SHIFT IN VOTERS
Franzese has been hitting the streets to discuss issues he considers important to everyday Floridians. He sees canvassing as an opportunity to connect with both Republican and Democrat residents to hear what’s most important to them.
“I’ve knocked on over 3,100 doors myself now. I learned the value of hard work from my father, a union carpenter,” said Franzese, a Wharton graduate.
The canvassing has been an opportunity to learn about what voters think about the current political situation. Some conversations have been surprising:
“I had someone tell me that their representative in Congress is Nancy Pelosi. So I said, ‘no, it’s Lois Frankel.’ They responded that Lois always toes the line for Nancy Pelosi, so she might as well be her representative. You’ve got to dig deep when talking with people,” he said.
Franzese says he sees a shift in some of the constituents. Those who previously voted for Frankel wonder if they will do the same again this year. “Inflation is a tax on all of us, but in particular, working-class people and retired people who are living on fixed incomes and seeing their savings eroded by inflation,” he explained.
Franzese has presented a four-point plan to tackle what he thinks is hurting working-class people in particular. In this plan, he wants to stop deficit spending and balance the budget; not pay people to stay home and not work; deregulate the energy industry to get back to $2 gas per gallon, and, perhaps most importantly – do a complete makeover of the Federal Reserve.
“My nearly 40-year track record of success in both personal and professional endeavors is what sets me apart. And a wide range of experiences that I feel none of the other candidates have is what allows me to be the best candidate to win against Lois Frankel in November,” said Franzese.
SUPPORT FROM GIULIANI
Rudy Giuliani, a part-time resident of Palm Beach, has endorsed Franzese: “Dan is the most experienced and qualified Republican candidate who is best positioned to defeat Lois Frankel, the Nancy Pelosi-backed incumbent next November. We need Dan in Washington because he understands what needs to be done to stand up to the swamp and special interests in D.C.,” Giuliani stated in a press release available on Franzese’s campaign website.
Another issue important to Franzese is election integrity. “I support the measures that Florida Governor DeSantis has implemented regarding voter ID, prohibiting the mass mailing of ballots, banning ballot harvesting, and prohibiting private money from being used to administer elections in Florida,” Franzese said.
COUNTING ON LATINO VOTERS
The new Congressional District 22 spans Palm Beach County’s coastline, beginning just north of West Palm Beach and traveling south to Delray Beach, with the L-40 canal to the west. The latest census shows Palm Beach County’s population, just under 1.5 million, is up 13 percent since 2010. Although Palm Beach is known for its retirement and golf club communities, only 24.5 percent of Palm Beach County residents are age 65 or older.
Republicans saw substantial gains in Latino communities during the 2020 election. Non-Cuban and non-Puerto Rican Latinos represented the most considerable shift. In Palm Beach County, 23.9 percent of residents are Hispanic. This voter bloc is becoming increasingly vocal about conservative values. A group known as Patriotas con Trump (Patriots with Trump) is working to help get more conservatives elected in 2022. They manage a WhatsApp group and hold meetings to find others interested in this cause.
For Franzese, winning the Republican primary on August 23rd is the short-term goal. He knows that running against Frankel in November won't be easy, but says he's up for the challenge. He believes that the most critical issues for voters include the economy, record inflation, immigration reform, and protecting the Second Amendment.