Almost two weeks after Election Day, a recount of ballots from Florida’s 18th congressional district shows incumbent Rep. Allen West, Republican, lost by an even wider margin than expected – but he still isn’t giving up.
Democrat Patrick Murphy’s campaign declared victory for a second time on Sunday after a recount of ballots from St. Lucy County showed him defeating Tea Party favorite West by 2,146 votes, The Palm Beach Post reports.
The original results showed Murphy winning with a 0.58 percent margin. Preliminary results reportedly showed that lead has increased to 0.65 percent.
But that doesn’t mean the freshman congressman is ready to concede the race. Despite the fact that the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board missed its noon deadline to file the results to the state Division of Elections – which under Florida law means the unofficial results submitted a week ago, showing a Murphy win, stand either way – West’s campaign manager Tim Edson said the Murphy campaign is “full of garbage” for asking West to concede defeat.
“This is something the secretary of state and governor will have to sort out,” Edson told the Palm Beach Post.
The West campaign may be considering its legal options to challenge the official tally. Under Florida election law, candidates can request an emergency exemption permitting final returns to be filed after the deadline in the event of an occurrence “that results or may result in substantial injury harm to the population or substantial damage or loss of property to the extent it will prohibit an election official’s ability to conduct a safe and orderly election.”
He could also challenge the official results under an obscure rule allowing losers to contest the final results by filing a legal complaint within 10 days of its certification – for West, that means by Nov. 10.
The complaint can only be filed in the event of serious mishaps such as fraud, bribery or corruption by an election official.
West isn’t likely to back down while there’s an iota of a possibility he could reclaim his seat. The congressman’s campaign is still flush with cash, having raised more than $17 million during the 2012 election, more than any other House member except House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, both Republicans.