Republican Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) thanked supporters on his Facebook page Monday for standing with him as “guardians of America’s honor” as he continues to contest his Florida House race despite the state declaring his opponent the winner.
The state of Florida certified Democrat Patrick Murphy as the winner on Saturday, following a recount of early ballots that put Murphy far enough ahead of West to avoid another automatic recount.
West, a freshman congressman and Tea Party favorite, has refused to concede the race.
The former career Army officer and conservative firebrand demanded a recount after the swing of votes on election night in which he was leading Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by roughly 2,000 votes, then trailed by 2,400 votes about 35 minutes later.
“I am deeply troubled by the voting procedure issues emanating from St. Lucie County,” West wrote on his Facebook page early Monday. “It is unconscionable to me to witness what is transpiring before our eyes.
“This is not about who gets a congressional seat, because it belongs to the people. This is about preserving the integrity of the voting process and the fundamental right to free and honest elections, because it is for that which I, and all veterans, have risked our lives.”
St. Lucie County agreed to recount three days of early ballots out of concern about issues with voting machine memory cards, but West’s campaign argues that all eight days of early ballots should be recounted. On Sunday, following their recount, the county announced that West still trailed Murphy, according to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
West’s campaign has threatened legal action.
“God bless and thanks to all of you here in the Treasure Coast and across America who have joined with us in the fight to protect and preserve the American democratic electoral process,” West wrote. “Your efforts and voices are being heard and you have all become guardians of America’s honor. A special hat tip and a hearty steadfast and loyal. I will not let you down.”
Officials said Saturday that West lost by 2,442 votes. The partial recount changed the final tally by several hundred votes. But officials have not changed the final, but unofficial outcome and say the new tally is not enough for a full recall election.
However, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer lawyer for West’s campaign, thinks a full recount of early votes would give the congressman the extra votes needed to trigger an automatic recount.
“If people are that adamant about getting rid of me, that’s fine,” West told Fox News on Monday. “But don’t do it at the expense of the integrity of our electoral process. That’s what disturbs me the most.”
West, 51, is one of only two black Republicans in the House. He had a constant string of headline-grabbing statements, from calling a majority of congressional Democrats communists to saying President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others should “get the hell out of the United States.”
Murphy, 29, was a political newcomer who portrayed West as an extremist who has done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.
Their race was the country’s most expensive House contest and one of the most closely watched. The two sides had raised nearly $21 million as of Oct. 17, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, and Super PACs poured in about $6.6 million.