Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Fact-checking the Frankel-Hasner race in South Florida

A campaign ad in the contest between Adam Hasner and Lois Frankel

Two veteran politicians in South Florida are dueling in a nationally-watched Congressional brawl to take over for tea party sensation U.S. Rep. Allen West.

Redistricting changed the Broward/Palm Beach Congressional District 22 from a swing district to left-leaning territory. And that sent West packing his campaign to the more conservative Treasure Coast. The fall-out from that decision means former Florida House Majority Adam Hasner, sagging behind in the GOP U.S. Senate primary, switched to run for Congress in West’s place.

In November, Hasner of Boca Raton faces Democrat Lois Frankel, a former West Palm Beach mayor and state representative, who easily fended off a primary challenge by Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. Hasner and Frankel were close in the race for dollars before the primary. (Updated financial reports are expected in October.)

Frankel and Hasner have a unique shared history: When he was in high school, his mother ran Frankel’s first campaign for state House in 1986.

"As a teenage Republican at the time you can only imagine the tough negotiations at the Hasner house -- me trying to get the keys to the car on Friday night when I wasn’t going to go out and help my mom and her boss  putting up yard signs Saturday morning," Hasner joked at a September forum in West Palm Beach.

"Say hello to your mother for me," Frankel later replied.

Other than the mom connection and the fact that they are both Jewish, they don’t have much in common.

Hasner wants spending caps, calls for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act and talks about protecting our borders from "illegal infiltration."   He’s also a Jewish surrogate for Mitt Romney.

Frankel supports the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights and has campaigned alongside Former President Bill Clinton and House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

They’ve both pointed the finger at each other about pay raises. In an attack ad from the Frankel campaign, Hasner says, "I'll never accept a pay increase," but the narrator points out he "voted to raise his pay four times." We rated that claim Mostly False -- he made the promise while running for Congress, a job that pays $174,000 a year. He did get some minimal pay raises while in the state House, but he also voted to cut his pay some years, too.

We also examined an ad by the YG Action Fund, a conservative group supporting Hasner. (YG stands for Young Guns.) "Frankel took a 40 percent pay raise with our money. We lost jobs," says the narrator, while text on the screen states "West Palm Beach lost jobs." We ruled that claim Half True  -- she did get that pay raise while mayor, but the ad distorts the employment picture.