West won't concede race as Fla. recount runs out of time

The clock ran out Sunday in Florida on a partial recount in Rep. Allen West's House race. Officials were not able to finish by the deadline.

MIAMI - Tea Party-backed Republican Congressman Allen West said he was still not ready to concede defeat on Sunday, almost two weeks after the Nov. 6 election, when the clock ran out on a partial recount in South Florida.

Results showing West trailing Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by 1,900 votes were now expected to be turned over to the state Division of Elections for official certification.

West was granted a recount of early ballots in St. Lucie county at the weekend, but officials were unable to complete the process before time ran out at midday on Sunday.

"Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District," said Murphy's campaign manager Anthony Kusich. "It is beyond time to put this campaign behind us."

Under Florida law in the event of an incomplete recount the original returns are automatically submitted for certification by the state.

"This election is far from over," said West's campaign manager, Tim Edson, in a statement calling the results "highly suspect."

"We will continue to fight on behalf of all voters in District 18 to ensure a fair and accurate count of their votes," he added, without saying how the campaign planned to challenge the result.

West, 51, a former Army lieutenant colonel, is seeking his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans held onto their majority in the election.

West amassed one of the largest campaign war chests among House Republicans. His known supporters include Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Murphy, 29, a political newcomer in his first congressional race, ran a surprisingly well-backed campaign focused on branding West as a divisive, right-wing extremist.

 

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