Freshman Congressman and tea party favorite Allen West (R-Fla.) has conceded to political newcomer Patrick Murphy.
According to POLITICO, West has acknowledged that he could not surmount his 1,904 vote deficit to automatically trigger a recount of all votes throughout parts of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.
At 0.58 percent, the difference was less than 250 votes.
Conceding defeat, West told POLITICO early Tuesday:
“For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.”
West congratulated Murphy, stating: “I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.”
In one of the most expensive Congressional races ever run, West had been expected to win the swing district. He outraised Murphy nearly 4-to-1 and enjoyed almost universal name recognition against a candidate making his first attempt for public office.
Following an election night loss, West and his volunteer legal team focused on Gertrude Walker, the now embattled St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections. When Walker admitted that “mistakes” had occurred in a rush to report election results, the outspoken Congressman went to court.
After judges in two counties declined to intervene in the election, the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board voted 2-to-1 and ordered a retabulation of votes cast in the county.
Following the recount, Democratic newcomer Patrick Murphy gained votes.
“While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters,” West said in his concession statement, “after much analysis and yesterday’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.”
Here is Congressman Allen West’s statement in full:
“For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.
“While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and yesterday’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.
“While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change. Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-Elect Murphy.
“Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual. It belongs to the people. I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.
“I must thank my wife Angela, and my daughters Aubrey and Austen for their support, patience, understanding and most of all, love. These are three of the toughest women I know. They have sent me off to defend our nation overseas at war and to Capitol Hill to serve our nation in the House of Representatives. They have all handled the challenges of these last few months, and the last many years, with amazing grace. I know they will be my side for whatever is our next chapter.
“I want to thank my congressional and campaign staff for their service, and most importantly, I want to thank all of our tremendous supporters who provided their time and money to power our campaign. I am humbled by the dedication and perseverance of our supporters, and their commitment to a free and prosperous America. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for our campaign, but most importantly, what they have done, and will continue to do for our country. None of us should let the outcome discourage us. We should only redouble our resolve.
“Above all, I want to thank God for his blessings, and for blessing me with the opportunity to serve.
“Only God knows what is in store for each of us. I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, and the results of this election will not change my purpose. Just as I did in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, just as I did on Capitol Hill, I will continue to fight for our Republic.
“Our nation will not overcome our challenges overnight, and the road ahead for each one of us will not be easy. But this nation would never have become that shining beacon of light if our founders had chosen the easy path 236 years ago. We all must proudly continue their legacy.
“For the protection and preservation of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, I shall remain steadfast and loyal. God bless you and God bless these United States of America.”
A request for comment from the Murphy campaign has not been answered.
With Congressman Allen West’s official concession, Patrick Murphy will be the new representative from Florida’s 18th congressional district.
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered late Friday the retabulation of all early votes in the highly contested congressional race between U.S. Representative Allen West (R-Fla.) and his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy.
The board voted 2-1 in favor of recounting the votes.
St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker indicated that the retabulation would begin at 9 o’clock Saturday morning. A total of 33,379 ballots from all eight days of early voting are in question.
According to Florida law, the race must be within 0.5 percent or less for an official “recount.” A “retabulation” occurs if the canvassing board decides there were mistakes made in the initial counting of ballots.
At issue are the Florida Republican’s bid to overcome a 1,907 vote – or 0.58 percent deficit – in his Treasure Coast race against Democrat Patrick Murphy.
The popular first-term Congressman needs just 249 votes from the retabulation to trigger a statutory recount under Florida law. In an earlier recount, West gained 545 votes from 16,275 early voting ballots, making it theoretically possible to overcome earlier losses.
Both West and Murphy lost more than 800 votes from the 16,275 with approximately 80 percent of the decrease being attributed to the Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy.
“This retabulation of all early votes as the Supervisor of Elections originally planned is a victory for democracy,” stated Jeffery Scott Shapiro, a volunteer attorney on the Allen West campaign. “This restores some level of trust and public confidence in the system…it was the right thing to do.”
Prior to the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board entering its decision, state Division of Elections official David Drury made a “personal” recommendation that all early votes be recounted as several errors had occurred in the initial process.
It had been previously reported that 304 early votes were never counted. There was also the question of a missing “communications log.”
St. Lucie County was the only county within the three county district that Patrick Murphy won. Supervisor Walker previously admitted double-counting some votes and missing others on election night citing “too much haste” trying to get immediate election results.
Since the earlier partial recount, Walker has stated that she was confident that the “vote count is now accurate.”
West has refused to concede the race and has relentlessly pushed for a recount of early votes in St. Lucie County. If a mandatory recount of all votes is forced, both Martin and Palm Beach counties would be recounted as well.
Earlier in the day, St. Lucie County Circuit Court Judge Dan Vaughn denied Congressman West’s request for a recount of early votes indicating that he did not have the authority to make such a ruling.
In a press conference late Tuesday, St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker told reporters that her office had been working 12-14 hour days to correct errors in the race between freshman Congressman Allen West and newcomer Patrick Murphy.
“I’m going to continue until every vote is counted accurately,” stated Walker.
In St Lucie County Circuit Court case number #562012CA004319, West:
“asks the court to immediately issue a preliminary injunction ordering Defendant Gertrude Walker, as St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, and Defendant Dan Detzner, as Florida Secretary of State, to convene the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board for the purpose of counting all votes cast in the election for the 18th Congressional District during the early voting period, and ordering Defendants to refrain from certifying results of the election for the 18th Congressional District until all ballots cast during the early voting period have been counted.”
During the press conference, Walker indicated that she would welcome a recount.
“If the state orders a recount, me and the Canvassing Board would be very pleased to do that. That’s our job. We just don’t have the authority to order a recount ourselves.”
In attempting to defend the partial recount process earlier conducted, Walker indicated that the Canvassing Board only had the legal authority to re-tabulate votes from three days of early votes and not all eight days.
It was her contention that those three days were possibly incorrect as a result of tabulation machine memory card failures. As a result, Walker herself could order the partial recount.
“What the law requires is that the canvassing board correct the error,” Walker said. “If they are able to isolate where the error is, that’s what they were supposed to re-tabulate.”
Walker’s press conference followed a response to the Congressman’s initial lawsuit seeking a manual recount of all the ballots and an impounding of the voting machines.
In the response, Walker asked the court to deny the request, indicating that West’s motion is “procedurally and factually defective,” and that “the plaintiff has failed to allege, let alone prove, the elements required for injunctive relief.”
Despite problems from what she calls “too much haste” trying to get immediate election results, Walker stated that she is confident that the vote count is now accurate.
“It happened, it’s corrected, and we have the correct results right now,” she said.
“Rather than accept defeat like a true soldier and move on, Allen West is now attempting to circumvent the voting process by bringing suit,” stated long-time political consultant Barry Harris of Politically Direct. “While part of the Democratic process, I am confident that this strategy will send the one-term Congressman home from Washington. Just like the voters did.”
From the Sunshine State to the Peach State, Congressman Allen West is in high demand.
Even before U.S. Rep. Allen West has been officially counted out in the hotly contested race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Republican officials in Georgia have offered him an opportunity to return home.
West is a native of Atlanta.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the freshman Congressman would be welcome with open arms.
“I would be glad to have him come back to Georgia and at some point run here,” Georgia GOP Chair Sue Everhart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I would certainly try to help him because he has done his job. The way he ran his race didn’t in any way interfere with the job he did. He ran as a Republican, a conservative Republican.”
Following redistricting, West moved north from Florida’s 22nd Congressional District to run for re-election. The popular Congressman and Tea Party favorite has not conceded defeat against his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, and is demanding a full recount.
A West campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Everhart concluded that Congressman West is “one of the finest congressmen this country’s ever had.”