UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: It appears the contest is not over just yet. Although Murphy leads by 2,500 votes with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, The Associated Press has not called the race yet and West has not conceded, according to Politico.
A statement from West’s campaign manager reads in part:
Late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes. In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed, in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos. Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary.
And so it begins.
Allen West, the tea party-backed Republican congressman from Florida prone to saying crazy and incendiary things, has lost his re-election bid to Democrat Patrick Murphy by a razor-thin margin. Murphy won Florida’s 18th District by about 1,000 votes with 97 percent of the precincts reporting, MSNBC reported early Wednesday morning.
The race had been one of the nastiest in the country this election season.
West, a Tea Party favorite, had not conceded, and it was unclear whether he would request a recount.
The race produced particularly memorable ads, with West using Murphy’s mug shot from an underage drinking incident in one and a political action committee backing Murphy using a caricature of West punching elderly women and taking money from a family in another.
West, known for his bombastic comments — he has asserted that some House Democrats are communists and suggested that the government “should be censoring ... American news agencies” — has been a top Democratic target from the outset.