It wouldn’t be like the state of Florida to not have some sort of recount battle ensue after Election Day. We thought it might have come in the form of a statewide presidential recount; however, it is no less surprising that it is coming out of Florida’s 18th congressional district.
That’s right, what was potentially one of the years nastiest congressional races has still not been finally declared, as Republican incumbent, Allen West is demanding a recall after loosing by less than 2,500 votes.
Allen West, a Tea Party favorite who had been labeled as an extremist by Democrats, warned voters before the election to be cautious of potential voter dishonesty by Democrats. He also suggested that the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections was out to rig the election against him.
He has stuck to that narrative since election day, after a string of suspicious circumstances led he and his campaign to launch an all out crusade against the St. Lucie County Board of Elections, the only county that West lost.
So what are these “suspicious circumstances” that are fanning the flame in District 18?
Late Tuesday night, long after most races had already been called, Allen West led opponent, Patrick Murphy, by over 2,000 votes. However, early Wednesday morning the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections decided to recount several early ballots. After this recount was conducted, it was then reported that West had fallen behind his opponent by roughly 2,400 votes. This ultimately left Patrick Murphy with 50.4% of the vote and Allen West with only 49.6%. Unfortunately for West, this was outside of the .5% margin needed to demand a recount in Florida.
However, West believes that there were definite actions of misconduct and fraud in the St. Lucie elections office, which if proven, would give him the legal ability to contest the election. The West campaign has asserted that the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections ignored several other rules and proper procedures.
According to Politico, the West campaign released the following statement last week. “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 that every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly we will pursue all legal means necessary.”
Over the weekend, St. Lucie County conducted a partial recount of early votes, which did in fact reduce Patrick Murphy’s lead, but still not enough to trigger an automatic recount. West is still adamant that a full recount takes place, as he believes that there are still suspicious and potentially fraudulent circumstances surrounding the election results in St. Lucie. The West campaign has consistently pointed to the fact that Patrick Murphy’s officials were allowed to attend the recount, while West officials were banned from the event.
Furthermore, the West campaign has insisted that some of the early votes may have been counted twice. He has called on officials to compare the number of signatures in the sign-in books at polls with the number of ballots cast to make sure the numbers caught up.
“Officials have already stated they had 141% turnout, which I think should cause everyone alarm,” West told FoxNews.
Given that the partial recount resulted in vote gains for West, he believes that a full recount of early votes would decrease the margin enough to trigger a district-wide recount of all ballots.
It doesn’t look like the West campaign plans to give up anytime soon, today a lawyer for Allen West also told Fox News, “It would be irrational at this point to concede without making sure that every single vote is counted and that the democratic process is preserved.”