Allen West, Austin Scott, and More Republican Freshman ‘Kamikazes’ (Photos)

Allen West, Austin Scott, and other lawmakers who may be killing their reelection chances with their tough policy stands.

Democrats have dubbed a group of Republican freshmen in Congress ‘the kamikazes,’ suggesting they are willing to commit political suicide to achieve their goals. But who are they? The Daily Beast looks at Allen West, Austin Scott, and other lawmakers who could be killing their reelection chances with their uncompromising policy stances.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Allen West (R-Fla.)

Florida’s Allen West came to power in the Tea Party wave in 2010 and hasn’t let anyone forget it since. On Thursday, West compared the Democratic Party to Nazis, saying “if Joseph Goebbels were around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.” West went on Fox News on Tuesday to defend his refusal to budge on the payroll-tax extension, saying that the House voted last week on a “bipartisan, bicameral” extension of payroll taxes and unemployment insurance, and that to pass the Senate’s proposed two-month extension is “insane” and “poor policy.”

Don Heupel / AP Photo

Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)

House Speaker John Boehner named one of the most vocal lawmakers against the payroll-tax extension, New York Republican freshman Rep. Tom Reed, as a negotiator for the House-Senate conference committee. But Reed called out the Senate for not negotiating a deal, and said the “arrogance” of the deal was “outstanding.” In 2010, Reed won Democrat Eric Massa’s old district—just a few months after Massa resigned in disgrace amid charges of sexually harassing his male colleagues. Reed is not an official member of the Tea Party, but he courted their vote in 2010, and has consistently played to the populist base. He doesn’t appear to be too worried about how his vote on the payroll-tax cut will affect him: Reed is a vocal supporter of term limits and insisted he would never seek more than six two-year terms.

Tom Williams / Getty Images

Steve Womack (R-Ark.)

Arkansas’s freshman legislator unseated a 17-year incumbent congressman mainly by campaigning on an anti-immigration platform. Having made a name for himself as a tough-on-immigration mayor, Womack made headlines earlier this year when he proposed legislation to cut funding for Obama’s teleprompter. Before the vote on the payroll-tax extension, Womack said he was preparing for an all-night debate. “We have a serious difference of opinion on the way forward,” he said. “The Senate bill is unworkable, unreasonable, and irresponsible.”

Harry Hamburg / AP Photo

Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

An Air Force pilot, Kinzinger received primary endorsements in 2010 from Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin. He won in Obama’s home state, with nearly 58 percent of the vote, but has since seen his district change, and will have to try his luck in a different one in 2012. Kinzinger voted against the Senate deal, saying he had a “clear conscience” because he had voted for the year-long bill. “It’s time to start doing politics long term,” he said.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Austin Scott (R-Ga.)

The president of the GOP’s 2011 freshman class, Georgia’s Austin Scott has been called an example of the “more nuanced” influence the Tea Party has had on lawmakers. “He has voted against his leadership and against the debt ceiling, but on issues such as the stopgap measure on funding disaster relief he voted for it—as most Tea Party–backed freshmen voted against it,” said Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman. After the payroll-tax extension vote, Scott said he was “not very comfortable” with a two-month extension of the bill. “If we continue to have to do this month after month after month, then you’re not going to see the job creation that should come out of it.”

Bill Clark / Getty Images

Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)

New York's Ann Marie Buerkle won her seat in a closely contested election that went down to the wire even though President Obama carried the district with 56 percent of the vote. Buerkle, a registered nurse by training, has been a vocal opponent of government spending, going so far as to oppose the omnibus spending bill that passed Dec. 16, because she didn't have enough time to fully vet the legislation before the vote. That was the same reason she used when she opposed the debt-ceiling deal back in August. Buerkle also voted down the two-month payroll-tax extension, saying "this two-month thing is just kicking the can down the road."

Harry Hamburg / AP Photo

Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)

Trey Gowdy may already see the writing on the wall. He told Politico in November, “I don’t think there’s any danger of me staying a long time, quite candidly.” Gowdy, a former prosecutor, has been frustrated by his inability to get even the Republican caucus moving in the direction of lower taxes and lower spending. The freshman from South Carolina opposed the two-month payroll-tax extension. Said Gowdy: "I don’t know if something was slipped into the eggnog or what. Who—absent falling and hitting their heads—could have thought that was a good idea?”