Votes to be retabulated in Florida congressional race
By: CNN Political Unit
(CNN) – Republican Rep. Allen West’s push to have votes recounted in his Florida congressional race against Democrat Patrick Murphy was granted late Friday when the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections ordered a retabulation of all eight days of early voting to begin Saturday morning.
In Florida’s 18th district, Murphy continues to have a slight lead over West. He declared a victory in the race last week, but West, who has been lobbying for a recount citing issues in the way the ballots were counted and a slim margin of votes between the two, has yet to concede. [RELATED: Judge denies Allen West’s request for fuller recount]
According to the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections’ website, the retabulation was to start at 9 a.m. Saturday.
West’s campaign filed a complaint Tuesday in St. Lucie County, calling for the court to order a recount of all early votes in the county in his race for re-election. Allen’s request was initially denied Friday afternoon, but later that evening a canvassing board ordered the retabulation, citing sufficient concern to grant the re-examination of the votes, according to CNN affiliate WPFB in West Pam Beach.
Murphy’s campaign communications director Erin Moffet released a statement regarding an injunction filed on behalf of the campaign Saturday to prevent recount.
“The votes were counted on Election Day, recounted last Sunday, and this would be the third time many of these votes have been counted. You can’t keep counting until you get the answer you like. The law is clear in what margin requires a recount and Patrick Murphy’s lead is outside of that margin,” said Moffet.
A statement released Saturday by West’s campaign manager Tim Edison said their opponents effort to stop the retabulation “demonstrates a complete lack of respect and utter disregard for the voters of St. Lucie County.”
West, a first-term Republican congressman and retired Army lieutenant colonel, and his Democratic challenger Murphy were locked in one of the country’s most expensive races for a U.S. House seat, according to a ranking prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics. West raised $17 million through mid-October and Murphy brought in $3.7 million, according for Federal Election Commission records.
As of Saturday, Murphy leads West by just over 1,900 votes.
The votes are considered unofficial until November 20, when state election officials have said the results will be certified. But West’s campaign has argued the certification date should be postponed until all the early ballots are counted.
CNN’s Dana Davidsen, Kevin Bohn, Gregory Wallace, Kevin Liptak and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.