By Delray Beach Tribune wire services
In a statement Tuesday morning, Allen West congratulated Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy and said he won’t challenge Murphy’s narrow victory for the congressional District 18 seat.
“For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly,” West said in his concession statement. “While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.”
West lost ground in St. Lucie County’s recount of early votes Sunday.
Though St. Lucie’s canvassing board missed its deadline to report updated results to the state, a retabulation Sunday that included 306 more uncounted ballots boosted Murphy’s lead in District 18. The rechecking of more than 37,000 early ballots gave Murphy another 274 votes, while West gained 32.
West said he still believed there are inaccuracies in the results.
“The actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters,” West said. “After much analysis and this past weekend’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.”
Late Monday, West volunteer attorney Jeffrey Scott Shapiro said the campaign was in a period of “reassessment and reconsideration.”
St. Lucie and Palm Beach judges previously denied recount-related requests from West in both counties and one attempt to block the St. Lucie recount by Murphy, D-Jupiter. West also filed a lawsuit to force St. Lucie to re-tally its absentee ballots, but Judge Dan Vaughn opted not to rule on it since the motion was tacked late onto another challenge.
West said that while a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, his campaign does not have evidence that the outcome would change.
“Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success,” West said.
West also added that he wanted to “congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from the 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.”
A short time later Patrick Murphy released a statement in which he appreciated Congressman West’s gracious concession. He also said he was “truly humbled that the voters of the 18th district have entrusted me to represent them in Washington.”