Diary

The Primary 100, Installment 1 of 100: #99 (tie) – Rep Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)

[mc_name name=’Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001257′ ] of Florida’s 12th district must be defeated in the Republican primary election on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. He represents a district that McCain carried by six points in 2008 and that Romney carried by nine points in 2012 for a Charlie Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+7, yet his Heritage Action Lifetime Score is a measly 62%. This places him in the 42nd percentile of Republican members of Congress. A district this solid deserves better than a member who is in the bottom half of Republicans on our issues.

Issues

  • On March 15, 2011, Rep. Bilirakis voted to fund the operations of the federal government at too high a level, essentially “kicking the can down the road.” It also passed up the chance to defund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, or the EPA’s overreach under the Obama Administration.
  • On April 15, 2011, Rep. Bilirakis voted against the “Honest Solutions” alternative budget proposed by the Republican Study Committee that would have balanced the budget in ten years. On March 20, 2013 and again on April 10, 2014, he voted against the “Back to Basics” alternative RSC budget, as well.
  • On June 16, 2011, Rep. Bilirakis voted to maintain subsidies to farmers who are millionaires, voting against a proposal that would have kept these generous subsidies limited only to those making a mere (!) quarter million dollars in adjusted gross income per year. Apparently, this was not generous enough for Mr. #99th Worst.
  • Over two votes on July 29 and August 1, 2011, Rep. Bilirakis voted to increase the national debt limit by about $3,3000,000,000,000.00 (that’s over three TRILLION dollars). In exchange for this vote, he secured a promise of discretionary cuts in the future (the future…always the cuts are in the future). Mr. 99th Worst apparently takes us taxpayers for fools.
  • On December 12, 2013, Rep. Bilirakis voted for the Ryan-Murray budget agreement that lifted “discretionary spending” caps to over a trillion dollars in 2013 and over a trillion dollars in 2014, as well. Again, the tax increases (oops I mean fee increases, my mistake) will be paid for by those “future spending reductions” everyone keeps talking about. I’m not sure if we are more likely to see those or the dodo bird.
  • On July 15, 2014, Rep. Bilirakis voted for an 11-figure bailout of the Highway Trust Fund, its fifth since 2008. This fund is supposed to be user-pay, but has been raided to pay for non-road, non-bridge expenditures along the way, bankrupting it again and again.
  • On September 17, 2014, Rep. Bilirakis voted to fund the federal government through December 11, 2014 and reauthorize the infamous Export-Import Bank. This sneaky funding to a date that was conveniently and not coincidentally in the lame duck session is yet another example of this member’s unforgivable voting record. Of course, on December 11, 2014, guess who voted for the Cromnibus? You got it—Mr. 99th Worst. It’s time for him to go.

Election history

Rep. Bilirakis took over his seat from Daddy (Michael) Bilirakis by winning the 2006 election. Other than opposition from chiropractic physician David Langheier in 2006, he has never faced a primary opponent.

State senators living in the 12th District

Sen. John Legg (R-Port Richey) has recent endorsements from the NRA and Florida Right to Life. Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), has been endorsed by the NRA and appears to have a pro-life voting record. Even if either of these senators runs against Rep. Bilirakis in the primary and wins the primary and general elections, there is no guarantee of a voting record any better than what Bilirakis has managed to string together. However, we have very little to lose by advocating for a change.

Action

It takes only 2,298 signatures to get on the ballot to offer a more conservative alternative. A district this conservative deserves better than this unbroken chain of nepotism. Who will run or recruit Senators Legg or Simpson to run? If you live in Florida’s 12th district, what will you do?