FLA-18. The count continues

posted at 10:01 am on November 17, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

I’m sure glad that election is finally over, aren’t you? Now we can move on to the pressing issues facing the country. Or… maybe not. In Florida, (yes, the same Florida) the 18th congressional district is still slugging it out as Representative Allen West struggles to hang on to his seat. The initial count had him down by nearly 2,000 votes (more than the .5% which would trigger an automatic recount) but questions remain regarding an accurate count of the early voting ballots in St. Lucie County. An initial request to the courts didn’t end well.

A Florida judge on Friday denied Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) request to recount early votes in St. Lucie County, dealing another setback to the congressman’s effort to overcome an apparent defeat in last Tuesday’s election.

West had requested the recounting of 37,000 ballots from early voting, suggesting that they may have been miscounted.

The judge in the case wasn’t saying there was no reason for a recount, but that the court lacked the authority to give the order. However, they also didn’t say that there couldn’t be a recount either, and late in the day the county board decided to go ahead with a full recount anyway.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — A county canvassing board on Friday ordered a recount of early-voting ballots in the race between U.S. Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy, hours after a judge declined to do the same.

The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board voted 2-to-1 late Friday in favor of the move in the 18th Congressional District contest, in which Murphy is the unofficial victor. A series of tabulation errors by the county has raised suspicion among West’s campaign and its supporters and appeared to motivate the board’s favorable vote.

The numbers make it clear that this is still a steep hill for West to climb in his recently re-cut district. But given the close margin and the fact that this particular race was under such intense national scrutiny, I see no reason for not letting them take their time and make sure the final totals are correct. There’s still plenty of time for each candidate to be ready for the new Congress in January. I’m also sure that neither man would want to sweep into the next term with a cloud of suspicion over their heads about voting irregularities.

In the meantime, assuming the current results stand, Congressman West doesn’t appear to be interested in an offer from Georgia to relocate his offices to the North.

U.S. Rep. Allen West continues to hold out hope that he can prevail with a recount in his coastal Florida race. But the Republican firebrand has ruled out a return to Georgia should he need to restart his political career…

West wasn’t interested. “No,” the former lieutenant colonel replied. “Look, let me tell you something. I have moved my wife around for 20-some-odd years, being in the military, and she was also the daughter of a career military guy. When I retired, she chose Florida. That’s where my daughter’s in school, in college, my youngest daughter’s in high school. That’s our home. It’s a very nice thing, but I’m not an NFL free agent.”

I’ve interviewed West a couple of times, including during the RNC in Tampa this year. I’m not terribly shocked by that response. Family first for Allen West. Kind of tough to argue with that, no matter how much some of his supporters would like to see him back in the mix.


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