Reports are trickling in that Allen West may be gaining some ground as the initial count of votes continues. However, it remains to be seen if the margin will narrow to the point at which West can force a recount.
From The Blaze:
Rep. Allen West is leading by more than 300 votes in Palm Beach County, Fla., a hopeful sign for the Tea Party favorite fighting for his political life after Tuesday’s election, a source told TheBlaze.
No winner has been declared in the congressional race between the Republican West and his Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy, though Murphy had a 2,456-vote lead in the unofficial vote total.
But a Republican observer who has been monitoring the counting process said West pulled ahead in Palm Beach County on Thursday as the initial count continues. Ballot printing errors led to ballots that could not be fed through scanners in some areas, so Florida election workers have been forced to reproduce their contents onto new ballots that can be read properly, the observer said. As the votes are counted for the first time, West has taken a slim lead.
It’s a separate issue from what’s happening in St. Lucie County, where West has demanded a recount over “disturbing irregularities.” He filed a motion Wednesday to have paper ballots counted and to impound voting machines and all paper ballots cast, WFOR-TV reported.
The observer called St. Lucie County more Republican in makeup while Palm Beach County is a mix but overall Democratic.
“The fact that he is ahead, period, even in this county is a good sign,” the observer said.
Allen West is seeking to enjoin election supervisors to impound voting machines and ballots. The hearing West has scheduled in Palm Beach County for noon today has led to action on the part of his opponent. The move also has not been met with a welcome attitude from the election Supervisor in Palm Beach County.
Shortly after the Palm Beach hearing was rescheduled, Murphy’s attorney filed paperwork to intervene. Murphy’s attorney Gerald Richman told The Palm Beach Post the court papers filed by West’s attorneys were riddled with errors, including failing to name a defendant, and saying that West would be “irreparably” harmed if the ballots and machines were not impounded.
Ken Spillias, attorney for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, filed court papers saying West’s “invitation for judicial intervention in the middle of an election is nothing short of an invitation to chaos,” according to the Post.
With 100 percent of precincts in, The Associated Press still has not declared a District 18 winner. After election night, Murphy garnered 160,328 votes to West’s 157,872. That’s a difference of 2,456. Percentage-wise, it’s 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, or a 0.8 percent lead favoring Murphy.
Only a 0.5 percent margin of victory or less triggers a recount in Florida. Counties have to report unofficial results to the state by noon Saturday to determine that margin, said state Division of Elections spokesman Kevin Cate.
We’ll continue to watch this story as it develops.
Two court hearings requested by Rep. Allen West and his attorneys — one here in West Palm Beach, another in St. Lucie County — supposed to take place at noon to demand a recount in his loss to Patrick Murphy in the District 18 race.
The hearing in St. Lucie County was cancelled, but the one in West Palm Beach got under way with lawyers for West, Murphy and the Supervisor of Elections addressing the judge. West’s lawyers say their big concern is securing the ballots for a possible recount.
Judge David Crow appeared impatient with arguments from West’s attorneys. He took a brief recess at 12:40 p.m., saying he’d return in 15 minutes with an announcement.
When Crow returned shortly before 1 p.m., he announced he was denying West’s motion for an injunction, effectively leaving it to the county elections officials to follow procedures to determine a winner in the race.