Votes were counted throughout the night in Florida’s 18th District, where Republican Allen West – who found himself on the wrong end of redistricting – was locked in a neck-and-neck contest with Democrat Patrick Murphy. Local news station WPTV finally projected Murphy as the upset winner of the race, and he has declared victory:
In a district that leans Republican by 2 percentage points, Jupiter Democrat Patrick Murphy should thank St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties’ voters for helping him knock off U.S. Rep. Allen West .
Only consistently red Martin County performed up to its billing for West.
By 6 a.m., with 100 percent of precincts reporting according to Politico.com, a winner still had not been officially declared. Murphy garnered 160,328 votes to West’s 157,872. That’s a difference of 2,456. Percentage-wise, that’s 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent.
It would seem West was done in by St. Lucie County, where Murphy collected an 11-point lead that tracks closely with partisan registration in the area. West slightly under-performed in Palm Beach and did roughly as anticipated in conservative Martin.
Although the margin is outside the 0.5 point limit that would trigger an automatic recount, West had not conceded defeat as of Wednesday morning. “This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome,” his campaign manager said in a statement. “Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”
The statement went on to question a recount of early ballots by the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, which suddenly wiped out a 2,000-vote West lead, and cited “disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County, including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed, in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results.” The statement went so far as to cite “hostility and demonstrated incompetence” from the St. Lucie Supervisor of Elections, and demand a hand recount of all ballots.