Peter R. Deutsch (born April 1, 1957) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from 1992 through 2005, representing the 20th Congressional District of Florida.
Deutsch was born in New York City, and attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1979. In college, he was an intern for the Senate Judiciary Committee. He obtained his law degree from Yale University in 1982.
While on a law clinic program, he learned of the many issues facing Medicare receipents in south Florida and established a non-profit organization, the Medicare Information Program of Broward County, after moving to Florida after law school.
In 1982, he was elected for the first of five two-year terms in the Florida House of Representatives, where he brought to the Florida Senate a bill which protects seniors from illegal nursing home evictions.
In 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House, where he was the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which investigated the Enron scandal.
In 2000, during the Florida recount, Deutsch lead many of the recount efforts in Broward County and brought the motion to the floor of the Senate to contest the results of the 2000 Election, an effort which had been seconded by Alcee Hastings.
Records and Controversies
Deutsch voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
U.S. Senate race, 2004
In 2004, Deutsch declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat being vacated in 2005 by retiring Senator Bob Graham. Although Deutsch consistently led opinion polls in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area, and had the largest amount of cash on hand for most of the race, he lagged in statewide opinion polls behind rival Betty Castor, whose fundraising dramatically accelerated during the summer of 2004 with the help of EMILY's List, which contributed close to $4.5M in television and advertising dollars. The Castor campaign was accused of inappropriate coordination with EMILY's List, and a lawsuit was filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
In May 2004, he hired Roy Teicher, a former television writer, newspaper reporter and editor, as his communications director. In June 2004, he hired Sanford Dickert as his Director of Internet Strategy. In June, he came under heavy criticism from the Castor campaign after American Democracy Project, a 527 group run by Bernie Friedman, began attacking Castor's handling of the Sami al-Arian incident. Deutsch denied any involvement in the ADP efforts and denounced their tactics in public.
Although Deutsch was able to win the support of icons such as Jesse Jackson and Michael Moore, he was defeated in the Democratic primary on August 31, winning only three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe).