It was one of the most expensive congressional campaigns in the country($20million), and the absolute closest in number of votes cast for each candidate. According to new unofficial vote totals released by the state of Florida on Saturday Incumbent Rep. Allen West has lost to his democrat challenger, Patrick Murphy, by 2,400 votes among 331,000 ballots cast. That amount represents a .07 percent difference, with Florida law dictating that a re count is only warranted for vote totals within .05 percent of each other.
Following the release of the unofficial numbers Murphy declared victory:
“It is now time to put the campaign behind us. I am honored that the voters of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches have chosen me to be their voice in Congress. Regardless of whether they voted for me or my opponent, I am committed to representing the interests of all residents of Florida’s 18th Congressional District in Washington.”
But West’s campaign manager, Tim Edson, says the final outcome remains undecided and actually accused a Florida elections supervisor of “hostility and dangerous incompetence”:
“Given the dramatic vote shift late in the night on election night in St. Lucie County, we are still waiting on the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections to make available the voter check-in books to ensure they match the number of votes cast.”
“There is no rush,” Edson said. “Ensuring an accurate outcome is our only focus.”
In a separate statement issued later in the day, West’s campaign further extrapolated on the situation:
“With all provisional and absentee votes counted in the 18th District, Congressman West currently trails by roughly 2,400 votes, a margin outside of the threshold for an automatic recount. The race remains undecided because there are issues that still need to be resolved in St. Lucie County. Late on Election Night, Congressman West led by 1,700 votes. Following the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections’ decision to recount thousands of early ballots after a technical glitch, the margin shifted by 4,000. In order to ensure that votes were not double counted, we have requested that the St. Lucie Supervisor of Elections make public the poll check-in books to ensure the numbers of ballots cast matches the numbers of voters checked-in at the polls. Once that information is provided we believe the outcome of the election will be clear,” the statement read.
Saturdays unofficial results are to be made official on November 20th barring any discrepancies.
West took the district handily in 2010 from then congressman Ron Klein – propelled by a charismatic yet fire-breathing speaking style, West excites his supporters with speeches peppered with “old school” bare-bones political rhetoric, promises to shatter the way Washington does business, and possesses the skillful ability to bridge the gap between the smoke and leather GOP establishment, whose leaders embraced him, and tea party activists, who revere him. West is a very popular guy amongst ruby-red conservative voters who eye the retired Army lieutenant colonel as a gritty, no holes barred, decorated U.S. Soldier with years of active combat duty under his belt that “tells it like it is” on issues that other politicians, including the former presidential challenger Mitt Romney, would never go near – such as the radical Islamic infestation of the Obama administration.
But West’s struggles in Florida come on the heals of his campaign spending $17 million compared to his challengers mere $3 million. Combined they represent the most expensive House seat, but when viewed separately and then cross examined in regards to votes cast for each candidate – the outcome is nearly identical to the national presidential election result – republican voters simply did not show up.