Allen West Digs In

Florida Rep. Allen West has never been one to back down from a brawl — and he’s not starting now.

The freshman tea party favorite is refusing to concede his hard-fought reelection campaign, despite vote tallies showing him trailing his Democratic challenger, 29-year-old construction company executive Patrick Murphy, by nearly 2,000 votes. While Murphy has declared victory, West and his advisers are threatening to wage a protracted legal battle – raising the prospect that the high-profile race will drag on for days, if not weeks, longer.

As of Monday afternoon, Murphy had accumulated 166,223 votes to West’s 164,316, according to the Associated Press, which has yet to call the race. The vote tally encompasses 100 percent of the precincts in the Treasure Coast district. Murphy holds a 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent lead over West, just outside the 0.5 percent margin that would automatically trigger a recount under Florida law.

On Saturday, Florida election officials completed an unofficial certification of the contest. An official count is expected to come Friday, when about 150 overseas ballots will be included in the total.

West’s legal advisers have homed in on the vote count in St. Lucie, one of three counties that comprise the newly-drawn 18th District seat. They argue that some ballots that were cast early there were accidentally counted twice. Murphy received 54 percent of the votes cast in the Democratic-oriented county. West won majorities in the district’s two other counties, Martin and Palm Beach.

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