September 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm
By Jonathan Mattise
Protesters rented a hotel room to crash an outdoor Allen West event at Pirates Cove Resort & Marina from their balcony, throwing beer, ice cubes and even a salt shaker onto the event before sheriff’s deputies escorted the protesters off the property Wednesday night.
The congressman was six minutes into his campaign speech on Pirates Cove’s outside pool deck when four protesters emerged from a hotel room onto their balcony overlooking the event. Stand Up Florida protesters shouted out garbled messages and unfurled a banner that read “Allen West is out of touch, Allen West is out of office.”
The protest groups are regulars at West events. West faces Jupiter Democrat Patrick Murphy in a multimillion-dollar November election. West called it the “most watched” in the country.
Before the crowd started booing loudly, Andrew Mina, Martin County field director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, tugged the banner down.
That started about a four-minute exchange with more protesters shouting over a microphone. West supporters kept booing and tossed water, ice cubes, beer and a couple of middle fingers at the balcony inhabitants.
Water and beer also showered down from the balcony. The protesters said it was splash-back from projectiles thrown from the crowd on the ground. However; a few West supporters said they saw protesters toss them down. At one point, an elderly West supporter cocked back his arm to hurl a glass salt shaker upward, but could only throw it a few feet before it shattered on the ground.
West, known his for controversial remarks against liberalism, quietly stood in the corner with his campaign team.
West supporters below started chanting “USA, USA” just before sheriff’s deputies escorted the protesters away. Pirates Cove management requested the protesters be removed from the property and sheriff’s deputies assisted, said Martin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Kenneth Pickering.
The protesters rented the room this week, said Stand Up Florida spokeswoman Gayle Faath. Stand Up Florida, which hires some paid pickets, is backed by the Service Employees International Union. and CREDO SuperPAC, which is taking aim at several high-profile tea party races across the country, also protested outside the event.
West targeted the protesters when he resumed his speech, and said Republicans need to win the White House and both congressional chambers in November.
He ended by leading a rendition of “God Bless America.”
“We should be able to talk about the differences between the direction that we want to take America,” West said. “But instead all they (protesters) want to do — it’s about the politics of character assassination.”