WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — Two weeks after Election Day, Rep. Allen West has given up the fight.
West conceded his re-election fight Tuesday morning, two weeks after the election gave way to court appearances, two partial recounts and unending accusations by his camp that the vote count wasn’t fair.
Speaking in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday at a Moose Lodge where he helped prepare meals for veterans, West said, “There were some instances of irregularities but we’re not going to hold up the process. The last thing we need is uncertainty for people in the 18th district. This is not about me, it’s about the people.”
Over the weekend it became clear that West was losing ground to his challenger.
During a partial recount in St. Lucie County it was shown that Murphy had gained 274 more votes.
“While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of St. Lucie County and Palm Beach county Supervisors of elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and this past weekend’s recount our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election,” said West.
Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich said he was not aware of any concession call to his candidate, simply an e-mail that was publicly distributed. In his own statement, Murphy said he was “humbled by Congressman West’s gracious concession” and eager to get to work on behalf of all voters.
“To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice,” Murphy said. “I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, and that is as important in this district as it is in Washington.”
Murphy declared victory in the wee hours of Election Night and has held his lead ever since, even as thousands of absentee, provisional and overseas ballots were processed and two partial recounts undertaken. But West’s campaign kept up a stream of skepticism about the results, largely focused on St. Lucie County, where elections officials acknowledged missteps.
Many have speculated West could find a new career in the place where he has been frequently seen, on cable television, but he has not said what his next step will be. “Only God knows what is in store for each of us,” he said in his statement, adding that “I will continue to fight for our republic.”
Whatever the next step, the contest between Murphy and West will go down as one of the most expensive in congressional history. Murphy eeked out the win though he was out-fundraised more than four-to-one.
West, 51, is a favorite among the most conservative reaches of the Republican Party. 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, portrayed West as an extremist who had done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.
In his concession statement, West offered congratulations to Murphy, saying “I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.”
West said he will mark the Thanksgiving day holiday with his wife and two daughters. And he said though he has sacrificed spending time with his family he will be there this weekend with his youngest daughter as she celebrates her 16th birthday.