FORT PIERCE (CBSMiami/AP) – Another defeat for GOP Rep. Allen West in his bid to retain his District 18 seat.
On Sunday, elections officials missed their noon deadline to report results of a two-day recount. This will apparently seal the unofficial results giving the win to Democrat Patrick Murphy.
Under Florida law, previously submitted results which favored Murphy will be certified unless an emergency exemption is granted by the state.
“They did this recount because they weren’t confident in the outcome,” said West campaign manager Tim Edson. “Now, because they missed the deadline, we’re not going to know whether they were right in their concern or not.”
Edson said the incumbent’s campaign was looking at what could be done to possibly extend the deadline and suggested the fight was not yet over.
“We’ll continue with all legal options that are available,” he said.
Edson has filed for an emergency hearing.
The task of proving there was an emergency that necessitated missing the deadline appeared difficult. State law says an election emergency “means any occurrence, or threat thereof, whether accidental, natural, or caused by human beings, in war or in peace, that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property to the extent it will prohibit an election officer’s ability to conduct a safe and orderly election.”
If the unofficial results, submitted last week, are certified, Murphy will win by about 1,900 votes.
A recount of three days of early voting ballots was conducted in St. Lucie County last week, narrowing Murphy’s margin a bit. The county’s canvassing board ultimately agreed to retabulate all eight days of ballots, approximately 37,379, after several errors were made public and West’s supporters made a relentless push for a fuller recount.
The campaign hoped Murphy’s margin of victory would decrease enough to force a machine recount of all ballots across the entire three-county district.
West, 51, is a first-term tea party favorite and one of only two black Republicans in the House. He has made a 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, 29, is a political newcomer who portrayed West as an extremist who has done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.
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