There are still contested congressional seats following the Nov. 6 elections. One of those seats is currently held by Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). And although a Florida court ruled Nov. 16 that a legal appeal by West’s campaign for an injunction to temporarily halt the vote certification process did not meet the necessary requirements, the controversial legislator is refusing to concede defeat. He says there are votes still to count.
What the Tea Party favorite is hoping for is enough as-yet-uncounted early ballots to be cast in his favor to put him within the 0.5 percent margin where the automatic recount of the all the votes kicks in. The current difference in the vote is 0.58 percent, with approximately 1,900 votes separating the two contenders out of over 330,500 votes cast.
As CNN reports, West is in a battle to retain his congressional seat in Florida’s 18th District. At present, West trails his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy. But Murphy didn’t wait on West’s legal objections or the state certification process. He declared victory last week.
West’s campaign said that while it respects “the court’s decision, we remain concerned the voters in St. Lucie County will not be able to have confidence in the integrity of the electoral process and their right to a fair election, and will continue to pursue all legal options to ensure they do.”
They have four days. The vote becomes official on Nov. 20. The just-denied temporary injunction was filed on Tuesday in the hopes that a judge would invoke it in order to give St. Lucie County election officials more time to count outstanding votes.
West’s camp contends that the St. Lucie Board of Elections has not maintained the “rule of law” in the electoral process. They cited discrepancies, according to Fox News, in the vote count where the votes weren’t matching up and where a recount was conducted, West gained hundreds of votes, but no one from the West camp was allowed to watch the recount, they contended.
The court ruling was the second denied West. Last Friday, Palm Beach Circuit Judge David Crow regarded West’s motion as “entirely premature.” He added, according to CBS News, that the court had no authority to overrule election procedures where there was no evidence that said procedures weren’t being followed.
The congressional race was one of the most expensive in the nation, according to a ranking prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics. It was also one of the more hotly contested, with Murphy running a campaign painting West as an extremist and contributing to the perceived gridlock in Washington.
West was part of the “red tide” of mostly tea party-supported Republicans that swept into office during the 2010 midterm elections. But his brief time in Congress has been one full of controversial remarks and positions.
West that labeled the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, all Democrats, as “communists” back in April. He said in February that the Democrats’ “redistributionary handouts” — a slam at entitlement programs — were “the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today.” He also has called for censorship of American news agencies, said that liberals could take their “message of equality of achievement” and “get the hell out of the United States of America,” and stated that Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister, would be proud of the Democratic Party for its “propaganda machine.”