Few freshmen congressmen have found themselves in the glare of the spotlight as often as Florida Rep. Allen West.
Known for his outspokenness, West rarely backs down from a political fight. Some say he picks them.
The former Army officer now faces a fight on three fronts.
But what some see as divisive, West sees as doing the job that voters hired him to do.
"I am willing to work with anyone that wants to do what is best for this country," he said, "(But) when I go back and I look at when President Obama was in the White House, Speaker Pelosi ran the House and (Sen.) Harry Reid had the Senate, I never heard about bipartisanship. I never heard the word 'compromise' used. So I'm starting to believe that these terms only come into play to try and force Republicans to do what the Democrats want," West continued. "I don't think there's anything divisive about me."
West entered Congress as one of the most notable faces from the tea party movement that helped Republicans make the biggest shift in the balance of power in the House in more than 60 years. He's become better known for his blunt style of making a point.
He has claimed a large part of the House Democratic caucus was communist, called Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz "vile, unprofessional and despicable," and said other Democratic leaders should take their message of "equality of achievement" and "get the hell out of the United States."
He also compared the movement that helped propel him to office with the movie "The Blob."
He has sponsored nine bills, including an effort to provide tax credits to small businesses that hire the unemployed, and two resolutions aimed at reducing appropriations to the Department of Defense for printing, reproduction, studies, analysis and evaluations, though none has yet made it out of committee. He has co-sponsored 274 other bills.
But it's his controversial comments that have gotten him the most attention.
'There's no middle ground with him'
"People are not following the progress of a congressman on a day-to-day basis," said Gregory Koger, a University of Miami political science professor. "They don't have the time or the interest, but they do have a general impression that Congress doesn't seem to be accomplishing much because there's a great deal of conflict and disagreement."
Koger said that could help lay the groundwork for a strong challenge to West by a Democrat "because of this very conservative class of Republicans who prefer conflict to compromise."
The district West has represented was carved up when Florida gained two districts after the 2010 Census and West chose to move north to a newly drawn district.
Democrat Patrick Murphy picked up and followed, leaving West's old 22nd Congressional District -- where he began his challenge to West -- and moved to the new 18th District.
"It's not the run-of-the-mill Republican we're going against," Murphy said. "It's Allen West. There's no middle ground with him -- people love him or hate him."
West served in the Army for nearly 20 years but an incident in Iraq in which he was accused of firing his pistol near the head of an Iraqi detainee to try to get information from him about an impending attack led to his leaving the service.
He moved his family from Texas to Florida, where he hoped to start a new life.
The new district retains about 20% of West's old one and includes swaths of retirement communities and agricultural land. Portions of the district include large numbers of older voters as well as affluent residents, many of them transplants.
"A lot of that area is made up of new Floridians," Koger said. "It's interesting for Allen West for two reasons: He doesn't have deep Florida roots. He was in the military for most of his career, left the military, spent three years as a civilian in Florida, and then ran for office. That's not going to matter with the population that doesn't have these long, deep ties to Florida. If the population itself is largely composed of transplants, they're not going to care as much.
"And, on the other hand, his military background and the rhetoric will probably do well in (a portion of St. Lucie County) that will appreciate his credentials and his military background."
Challenge on the flank
West must first win an August Republican primary against Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder, who says he, too, is challenging West chiefly because of his in-your-face brand of politics.
"Problems in our country are largely because Congress is not communicating with itself and things seem to be in a logjam," Crowder said. "West is a fine fellow, but he is very confrontational and I think it's time for members of Congress to pull together and listen to one another and negotiate with the other party instead of calling them communists."
The National Republican Congressional Committee is throwing its weight behind West, picking his campaign for its Patriot Program, an effort to support Republican members in competitive races targeted by Democrats.