Rep. Allen West's (R-FL) reelection prospects grew dimmer Sunday, as a partial recount showed the freshman congressman, who was already projected to lose his race, falling further behind his opponent.
Democrat Patrick Murphy gained 242 votes in St. Lucie County after a recount of early ballots there, boosting his lead to about 2,100 over West, the Tea Party favorite who made a name for himself in Washington by vociferously attacking Democrats, claiming scores of them were communists and equating them to slaveowners. The county had until noon Sunday to certify their results.
Election workers in St. Lucie county have acknowledged mistakes in the way they used vote counting machines to tab early ballots, prompting the state to send auditors to review what went wrong. On Friday, the county also announced that they'd found a box of some 300 early ballots that had somehow never been counted.
The preliminary results showed Murphy, a twenty-nine year-old political newcomer, leading West by just more than the 0.5 percent threshold necessary to avoid an automatic recount. West successfully petitioned to have early ballots double-checked, though that legal victory has now made his chances of claiming victory in the overall House race slimmer.
The state of Florida has until Tuesday to certify the results of the election, and outside of a legal Hail Mary, there is little West can do to avoid defeat. West's campaign manager told Politico Sunday that the campaign was not over, and staffers would be reviewing vote tallies before deciding how to proceed. West has until Nov. 30 to file a lawsuit challenging the election results.
Though West has refused to concede, Murphy has already claimed victory.