WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Firebrand Republican Rep. Allen West was defeated by Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, according to the state’s vote count Saturday, but the incumbent won’t concede.
The state issued complete but unofficial results showing Murphy with a lead of 2,442 votes, or 50.4 percent. That’s beyond the half-percent margin needed to trigger an automatic recount.
West’s campaign insists there are many unanswered questions in the race, mostly centered in St. Lucie County. They are concerned that votes were counted twice and have asked to review sign-in books from the polls.
West’s only path forward appears to be through the courts. Under state law, he still could contest the election if misconduct or fraud might have changed its result.
The race was the country’s most expensive House race and one of the most closely watched. The two sides had raised nearly $21 million as of Oct. 17, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, and super PACs poured in about $6.6 million.
West is a former Army lieutenant colonel who was elected in 2010 on a wave of tea party support. He had a constant string of headline-grabbing statements, from calling a majority of congressional Democrats communists to saying President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others should “get the hell out of the United States.”
Murphy was a political newcomer who portrayed West as an extremist who has done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.