First-term Florida Congressman Allen West received a boost late Friday from St. Lucie County elections officials who agreed to his request for a full recount of all votes cast in the eight-day early voting period in the hotly contested 18th Congressional district balloting. Rep. West, an Army combat veteran, is a first-term GOP officeholder.
Previously the elections supervisor had only agreed to recount the last three days of early voting, but officials reversed that ruling. The West campaign has alleged various improprieties in St. Lucie County, the only county that his opponent carried. West currently trails by about 1,900 (down from 2,400) votes.
Roll Call provides more background on the West election challenge:
“St. Lucie county is one of three in the newly configured 18th District, where West faced off with businessman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat. It was one of the nastiest, most bitter, and hard fought congressional races in the country. As the vote count stands now, West trails just outside the 0.5 percent margin that would trigger an automatic recount across the whole district. But there’s the possibility that, if this retabulation narrows the vote margin, a recount could be triggered.”
According to CNN, county officials must submit the “final” tally by noon tomorrow, and state officials in turn must certify election results by November 20, although further court challenges in the West-Murphy election are highly likely.
In a statement, Congressman West said the following:
“We are pleased the Canvassing Board has done the right thing for the voters of St Lucie County by agreeing to a retabulation of early votes. All we have been fighting for since the very beginning is to ensure the citizens of this county have their votes accurately and fairly counted.”
Murphy’s campaign went to court today to try to stop the full St Lucie recount but was apparently unsuccessful. The Palm Beach Post reports that “West hopes the retabulation will shave enough votes off Murphy’s lead to justify a full recount, which would involve Martin and Palm Beach counties as well.”