The ability of Florida to be able to count accurately votes in an election continues to be a problem. Election officials in Florida tried but to no avail missed a noon deadline Sunday for their partial recount in the race between Republican Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy. This means that under state law the results remain the same, which means Mr. West loses by more than a percentage point.
In Florida, the race between Republican Allen West, a one-term congressman, and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, has supposedly come to an end with Patrick Murphy as the victor. With Florida already having a bad reputation with their voting practices, West had petitioned a recount of votes that needed to be counted by Sunday at noon. Since they were unable to tally all the votes in time, state law dictates that the original results are valid and that means Murphy is the winner.
Anthony Kusich, Murphy for Congressman Campaign manager, had prepared a statement that according to the Palm Beach Post said, “Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District.” Kusich added, “The voters have spoken, and Patrick Murphy is once again the clear winner,” campaign manager Anthony Kusich. “It is beyond time to put this campaign behind us and put the interests of the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches first.”
As for West, his campaign was looking to see what could be done to get some form of an extension to the deadline and made it clear that they would continue to fight. Tim Edson, West’s campaign manager, said, “We’ll continue with all legal options that are available.” He also said that, “They did this recount because they weren’t confident in the outcome. Now, because they missed the deadline, we’re not going to know whether they were right in their concern or not.” They are not the only ones upset with county officials as angry supporters for West chanted loudly “Count our votes!”
The original tally was that Murphy had won by 1,900 votes, which means West lost by 0.7 percentage points. Unfortunately for West, the margin for victory was large enough that a recount could not be issued. Though on November 10, Florida certified the results claiming Murphy the winner, West would not concede and claimed there were “discrepancies” with the early voting results.
West’s request was denied by a federal judge earlier on Friday because the judge said he lacked the authority to grant such an order. However, the St. Lucie Canvassing Board then ruled 2-1 that the early ballots should be recounted but not any absentee ballots that West had also requested. According to NBC Miami, “A series of tabulation errors by the county has raised suspicion among West’s campaign and its supporters and appeared to motivate the board’s favorable vote.”
This also triggered a war of words as Murphy’s campaign has brushed off the calls for a recount and is insisting West is just trying to cling to the spotlight after being defeated. West’s campaign, however, struck back and released a statement: “Patrick Murphy has had such a good time with Nancy Pelosi pretending to be a congressman; he realizes a recount would likely derail his plans, and that’s why his lawyers promised a lawsuit if all votes are recounted fairly and accurately. It’s an interesting stance from a candidate who said he was the clear and outright winner.”
Regardless, the missed deadline on Sunday puts more pressure on Gov. Rick Scott and Secretary of State, Ken Detzner, who must certify the final results on Tuesday. Though West and his supporters are trying to get an extension to the missed noon deadline, the task of proving that there was an emergency that hindered the deadline being met appears to be difficult. According to state law, 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.”
West, 51, is one of only two black Republicans in the House as well as being a first-term tea party favorite. He has been known for making a string of headline-grabbing statements such as calling a majority of congressional Democrats communists. He also said that Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and others should “get the hell out of the United States.” Murphy, 29, is a newcomer politically and portrays West as an extremist who has not done much in Washington but stoke partisan fires.
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“Firebrand Republican Rep. Allen West was defeated by Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, according to the state’s vote count Saturday, but the incumbent won’t concede.
The state issued complete but unofficial results showing Murphy with a lead of 2,442 votes, or 50.4 percent. That’s beyond the half-percent margin needed to trigger an automatic recount. A handful of overseas and military ballots remain outstanding, but under state law the decision for a recount is based on Saturday’s count.”