November 19th, 2012
Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West has neither conceded nor committed to future challenges after final results from St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties on Sunday showed Democrat Patrick Murphy winning the congressional District 18 race by 1,904 votes or 0.58 percent.
Murphy’s margin is just beyond the state’s 0.5 percent threshold for an automatic recount. And Murphy’s lead would be 242 votes larger if problem-plagued St. Lucie County hadn’t missed Sunday’s noon deadline for submitting final results after a recount of more than 37,000 ballots from early voting.
The state’s Elections Canvassing Commission will meet Tuesday morning in Tallahassee to give final certification to all elections results from across the state. Once the results are certified, West would have 10 days to contest the election — a decidedly uphill proposition.
“We will be discussing how we will move forward at some point tomorrow,” West campaign spokeswoman Michele Hickford said today.
West and his campaign publicly toned down talk of contesting the race as Sunday wore on.
Soon after St. Lucie County blew the noon deadline, West campaign manager Tim Edson declared: “This election is far from over. We will continue to fight on behalf of all voters in District 18 to ensure a fair and accurate count of their votes.”
But later in the afternoon, West issued a statement that left his options open but wasn’t as combative as Edson’s.
“We will review the results of today’s recount and the other available data to determine how to proceed. I have been humbled by the support we have received and the hard work of so many to ensure the integrity of this process,” West said.
A few hours later, West put a statement on Facebook that neither conceded nor mentioned the possibility of fighting on.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone for their support during this effort to ensure the integrity of our electoral process. It is truly humbling. I cannot state enough how proud I am to stand with each and every one of you, patriots all. You are the bedrock of our constitutional republic,” West wrote.
The West campaign remains interested in a report by three Florida Division of Elections auditors who were sent from Tallahassee last week by Secretary of State Ken Detzner to monitor the St. Lucie County elections office.
That report “will likely not be completed until after Thanksgiving,” Detzner spokesman Chris Cate said.