Representative Allen West – the tea party pugilist and face of the class of House Republicans that stormed to power two years ago – conceded [this morning] to 29-year-old construction executive Patrick Murphy in one of the nation’s highest-profile congressional races.
After two weeks of battle with St. Lucie County elections officials – and a recount of early votes that wound up extending Murphy’s lead – West acknowledged that he couldn’t surmount his 1,904-vote, or 0.58 percent, deficit. That difference was just outside the 0.5 percent threshold to automatically trigger a recount of all votes. So the brash conservative opted to bow out rather than wage a long and costly court battle he was unlikely to win. … West said: … ‘While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.’ West congratulated Murphy, saying, ‘I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.’
Democrats fell short in their bid to retake the House, but taking out West is one victory they’ll savor. … West was expected to win in the swing district, if only narrowly – he outraised Murphy 4-to-1, and enjoyed almost universal name ID against a candidate waging his first bid for public office. West ran as a rare truth-teller in politics, trying to turn his blunt talk into a campaign asset. Murphy bet that voters were tired of hearing it. … After ending election night trailing slightly, West and his legal team took aim at St. Lucie County election officials, alleging they mistakenly double-counted some ballots to Murphy’s benefit and missed others. … That led to a wild few weeks: Tea party activists rallied to West’s defense, raising money in preparation for a protracted legal battle.
Here is West’s full statement:
For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.
While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, 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.
While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do 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. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-elect Murphy.
Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual. It belongs to the people.
I want 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.
I must thank my wife Angela, and my daughters Aubrey and Austen for their support, patience, understanding and most of all, love. These are three of the toughest women I know. They have sent me off to defend our nation overseas at war, and to Capitol Hill to serve our nation in the House of Representatives. They have all handled the challenges of these last few months, and the last many years, with amazing grace. I know they will be by my side for whatever is our next chapter.
I want to thank my congressional and campaign staff for their service, and most importantly, I want to thank all of our tremendous supporters who provided their time and money to power our campaign. I am humbled by the dedication and perseverance of our supporters, and their commitment to a free and prosperous America. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for our campaign, but most importantly, what they have done, and will continue to do for our country. None of us should let the outcome discourage us. We should only redouble our resolve.
Above all, I want to thank God for his blessings, and for blessing me with the opportunity to serve.
Only God knows what is in store for each of us. I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, and the results of this election will not change my purpose. Just as I did in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, just as I did on Capitol Hill, I will continue to fight for our Republic.
Our nation will not overcome our challenges overnight, and the road ahead for each one of us will not be easy. But this nation would never have become that shining beacon of light if our founders had chosen the easy path 236 years ago. We all must proudly continue their legacy.
For the protection and preservation of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, I shall remain steadfast and loyal. God bless you and God bless these United States of America.