Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is seeking an emergency hearing after his challenger, Democrat Patrick Murphy, declared victory in Florida’s 18th congressional district race on Sunday. Murphy declared victory after the St. Lucie County canvassing board missed a noon deadline to file its election results.
According to the Palm Beach Post, under Florida law, if the final certified results do not arrive by noon on Sunday, the “unofficial results submitted last Sunday stand.” Those unofficial results have Murphy winning by 0.58%. A spread of less than 0.5%, as the Post notes, would trigger an automatic recount. Tallies showed West would have needed roughly 250 votes to trigger a recount across the district.
Unless West receives an emergency injunction, Murphy will be declared the winner.
Allen West’s campaign told Fox News that “what was a bad situation has gotten worse” and “whether this was done intentionally” or was more negligence on behalf of the supervisor of elections, “it just adds to the suspicion.”
West won a decision to get early votes in the 8 days leading up to the election in St. Lucie County recounted. West’s campaign said some elections officials in St. Lucie County admitted to double counting some ballots and ignoring other ballots on election night.
Canvassing Board Member Ted Lowery said the board on Sunday “still had write-in ballots and other questionable ballots from eight days of early voting to review before the noon deadline.” In addition, machines may have malfunctioned during Sunday’s recount.
Tim Edson, West’s campaign manager, told the Post that “Murphy’s people are full of garbage” and “this is something the secretary of state and governor will have to sort out.”
According to Edson, the recount revealed many “concerns,” such as 900 voters casting ballots in precinct 93, where there are 7 registered voters, and “the results are raising more questions.”
Anthony Kusich, Murphy’s campaign manager, released a pre-written statement after the noon deadline declaring victory for the second time.
“Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District,” Kusich said. “The voters have spoken and Patrick Murphy is once again the clear winner. 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.”
The Post reports West supporters have been crowding into the ballot-counting area and shouting, “Count our vote!”