By Dawn Krebs
TREASURE COAST -- After almost two weeks of lawyers and recounts, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, conceded on the early morning of Nov. 20 to his opponent, Patrick Murphy.
"While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change," Rep. West said in a prepared statement. "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."
Mr. Murphy addressed Rep. West's concession, calling it "gracious."
"I am truly humbled that the voters of the 18th district have entrusted me to represent them in Washington. To those who supported my opponent, my door is open, and I want to hear your voice," he said in a press release. "I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches. I am excited and honored to get to work."
Rep. West's concession came after the St. Lucie County canvassing board voted to recount all eight days of early voting ballots, which took place over a two-day period on Nov. 17 and 18, so the elections office could meet the state's elections deadline to report results by noon on Nov. 18.
The results showed Mr. Murphy not only maintaining his lead from a previous recount, but increasing it by 242 votes.
The final results in the county showed Mr. Murphy with 65,841 votes, while Rep. West received 52,704 votes. In the district, Mr. Murphy won by 1,904 votes. Since the difference between the two candidates was determined to be .58 percent, it did not meet the qualifications for an automatic recount of all the votes.