Rep. Allen West is apparently defeated

November 10, 2012

Conservative firebrand Rep. Allen B. West (R-Fla.) appears to have lost his reelection bid, with final vote totals in the state's new 18th Congressional District showing him trailing by more than 2,000 votes.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Patrick Murphy leads West by 2,442 votes -- 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. That is outside the margin (0.5 percent) for a computer recount.

The Associated Press, however, has not called the race, and West is vowing to continue fighting.


Rep. Allen B. West (R-Fla.). (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

"We're simply not going to just walk away from the race until we see that the numbers add up," West campaign manager Tim Edson told AP.

West's campaign has raised questions about how ballots were cast in St. Lucie County, which Murphy won. Edson told AP that the campaign wants to see documentation and is prepared to sue if the numbers don't add up or if documentation isn't provided.

At this point, West's only recourse will be in the courts. But a Florida judge on Friday denied his request to impound ballots and voting machines.

Murphy declared victory early Wednesday morning and has been moving forward as if he will replace West.

In addition to being one of the most outspoken and controversial freshmen in the GOP Class of 2010, West was its best fundraiser, pulling in more than $17 million for his reelection campaign.

After redistricting, he opted to run in the swingy 18th District rather than the Democratic-leaning 22nd District, which he currently represents. If West loses his race, it will mean the GOP lost both seats.

Murphy, a 29-year-old certified public accountant and small businessman, bears no relation to the Democratic congressman of the same name who represented a suburban Pennsylvania district from 2001 to 2011.

Republicans currently hold a 234-194 majority in the House with seven races (including West's) unresolved. Democrats lead in six of those races, though, and the GOP candidate has conceded in one of those six.

The most likely outcome seems to be a 235-200 GOP majority, which would be a net gain of seven seats for Democrats.

Update 8:37 p.m.: Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker has ordered the recount of all early votes cast in St. Lucie County -- a decision hailed by West's campaign.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · November 10, 2012