Florida Rep. Allen West has finally conceded to his Democratic competitor, Patrick Murphy, a full two weeks after election day.
After the final polls showed West trailing by a small margin, he raised a team of lawyers to try to get a recount of the votes cast in his district. West was adamant that some votes had been counted twice, not counted at all, or were a result of voter fraud.
He successfully forced two partial recounts, but continued to trail Murphy. According to a statement released Tuesday by West, the congressman’s lawyers concluded that Murphy’s lead would remain large enough to avoid a full recount.
“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,” West said in a concession statement early Tuesday morning.
“While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change,” West went on. “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.”
Both sides had been gearing up for a protracted legal fight. Murphy, whose campaign boasted far less cash on hand than West’s, was sending out emails to supporters asking for more money to pay the upcoming legal fees.
“I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from the 18th Congressional District,” West said. “I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.”
West also thanked his supporters.
“None of us should let the outcome discourage us. We should only redouble our resolve,” he said.
“I appreciate Congressman West’s gracious concession today. I am truly humbled that the voters of the 18th district have entrusted me to represent them in Washington,” Murphy said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice. I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, and that is as important in this district as it is in Washington. I am excited and honored to get to work,” Murphy added.
Though Republicans still hold a majority in the House, winning this seat was a boon for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which backed Murphy and touted West’s ouster as part of its success in “reversing the tea party wave.”
The concession comes two weeks after election day and one week after Murphy officially began his duties as the next congressman from Florida’s 18th District, which included orientation meetings in Washington, D.C.