Rep. Allen West demanded a recount Wednesday as his close re-election bid against Patrick Murphy resulted in Murphy having a lead of less than 3,000 votes with 100 of the precincts reporting.
West’s campaign issued a statement:
Our race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting off all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.
Late last night Congressman West maintained a district wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes. In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results.
The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos. Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly we will pursue all legal means necessary.
The race was incredibly close with Murphy taking 160,328 votes (50.4%) while Wast had 157,782 votes (49.6%).
Murphy declared victory shortly after 1 a.m., according to TCPalm.com. West had yet to concede. Murphy’s 0.8 point lead is outside the 0.5 margin that would require a recount in the Sunshine State. If Murphy’s lead remains bigger than 0.5 percentage points, a state elections spokesman told the Miami Herald that there is “no statutory mechanism for a candidate, group or anyone else to have a recount done.”
“Allen West was quite a character to run against,” Murphy said in his victory speech, according to the website. “And I’ll keep it at that, and hopefully that’s the last time I ever need to mention his name, too.”
The Palm Beach Post reports provisional and absentee ballots in Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County still need to be counted. Murphy’s campaign manager told the newspaper the outstanding ballots weren’t enough to overturn the results.
West, a retired Army colonel who left the military after firing off a gun near the head of an Iraqi prisoner, was elected as part of the 2010 tea party wave. As one of the GOP’s few black elected officials on the national level — and as a bombastic and incendiary commentator — West became a frequent cable news guest. He spent $13.8 million, more than any other House member in 2012 but was also a regular star of House Democratic fundraising appeals.
West has vowed to pursue the matter in court should it come to that.
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