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Allen West Has Lost, But Still Refuses To Concede

As I noted after the election, it was apparent after the vote was counted that Florida Congressman Allen West, who has nothing but an embarrassment from the moment he arrived on Capitol Hill, had lost his bid for re-election to Patrick Murphy after what had been one of the most toughly fought, expensive, Congressional elections in recent memory. Despite the numbers, West refused to concede on Election Night and spent the better part of last week attempt to use legal maneuvers to force a recount, which is only available under Florida law if the margin between the two candidates is 0.5% of the vote or lower. The margin between Murphy and West even in the initial hours after Election Day was well above that benchmark. In the meantime, Florida counties spent the rest of last week counting the remainder of their absentee and provisional ballots. Yesterday, finally, the counting was done, and  West now trails Murphy by some 2400 votes. Despite this, the Congressman still refuses to concede: 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Republican Rep. Allen West was defeated by Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, according to the state’s vote count Saturday, but the incumbent won’t concede.

The state issued complete but unofficial results showing Murphy with a lead of 2,442 votes, or 50.4 percent. That’s beyond the half-percent margin needed to trigger an automatic recount. A handful of overseas and military ballots remain outstanding, but under state law the decision for a recount is based on Saturday’s count.

(…)

West’s campaign insists there are many unanswered questions in the race, mostly centered in St. Lucie County, the only one of three counties in the district that Murphy won. They are concerned that votes were counted twice and have asked to review sign-in books from the polls to ensure the number of voters matched the ballot count.

“We’re simply not going to just walk away from the race until we see that the numbers add up,” West campaign manager Tim Edson said.

West’s only path forward appears to be through the courts. Under state law, he still could contest the election if misconduct or fraud might have changed its result.

Officials in Tallahassee will certify the election results next week, at which point West’s options will be pretty much non-existent. There is no evidence of fraud in this election, and any court proceedings he may file strike me as being only dilatory in nature. West should do the honorable thing and step aside. But, then, this is Allen West we’re talking about so I doubt that will happen.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    The good news is that the loser doesn’t have to concede to be the loser.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 1

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    West should do the honorable thing and step aside.

    Until I read this I did not think it was possible to get “honoable” and “West” into the same sentence.

    (hope this isn’t a double post, lost connection)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  3. EddieInCA says:

    He will have a paid gig on Fox within 90 days.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  4. JoshB says:

    I’ve seen many a right-wing post that states his loss accounts for left-wing racism. This, from the party that whines anytime someone calls out obvious racism.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  5. David says:

    90 days, I’d be shocked if it took that long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Argon says:

    Keep f***king that chicken, Allen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  7. Todd says:

    Oh, don’t you know, in the Conservative alternate universe (at least according to my Facebook friends), Allen West really got more votes, and it’s just the Liberal Supervisor of Elections who’s keeping him from claiming the victory that he “earned”. Then again, many of these same people are still absolutely convinced that Mitt Romney really got more votes than Barack Obama too. (rolls eyes)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  8. JKB says:

    You are behind Doug. St Lucie county was scheduled to meet this morning to recount the contested ballots. Could be error, could nothing, could be fraud. Of course, only an admitted error found will alter the race.

    The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board announced late Saturday it had set an “emergency meeting” to start at 7 a.m. Sunday at its headquarters, to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.” The number of early ballots is estimated by officials to be roughly 37,000.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  9. Paul L. says:

    Sorry after the behavior of the Democrats in the Al Franken election, their complains about Allen West not conceding are the height of hypocrisy .

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 34

  10. mantis says:

    @Paul L.:

    Sorry after the behavior of the Democrats in the Al Franken election, their complains about Allen West not conceding are the height of hypocrisy .

    You mean when the Republican refused to accept that Franken had been certified the winner and tied up the matter in court for six months to intentionally thwart the will of the voters and keep the Democrats from having another vote in the Senate, sticking his thumb in the eye of democracy?

    Yeah, those Democrats sure are awful. For winning elections.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 1

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Sorry after the behavior of the Democrats in the Al Franken election, their complains about Allen West not conceding are the height of hypocrisy .

    You mean the election that Al Franken WON? I had no complaints about that whatsoever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  12. @mantis:

    1) Both sides tied that election up in courts. It was in fact the Franken camp that intiated the lawsuits rather than waiting for the standard recount process to complete.

    2) Are all election challenges necessarily invalid? Was, for example, Al Gore trying to “intentionally thwart the will of the voters” and “sticking his thumb in the eye of democracy”? Or is it only that way when Republicans challenge elections, something the sainted Democrats would only ever do with the purest of motives.

    3) Are you saying there was nothing about that election you considered suspicious? Regardless of the outcome, that election was a shocking display of incompetence on the part of the county election authorities. The fact that four years laters there are still votes that are recorded as being cast but which the ballots were never located for should have cost people their positions. And what are we supposed to do when ballots have been lost?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  13. @al-Ameda:

    You mean the election that Al Franken WON? I had no complaints about that whatsoever.

    Except he didn’t win the initial tally, he only won after the extensive recounting process mantis is complaining about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  14. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m not talking about the recount process and I leave it to the Minnesota people to figure out their election management, but the outcome was certified in January and Coleman tied it up in courts for six months with no hope to win and no purpose except to deny the Democrats a 60-seat majority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. MM says:

    @Paul L.: After eating this apple, I know everything there is to know about oranges.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Bad soldier, bad congressman, bad loser. I sense a theme here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  17. James Young says:

    Really, Doug. So a county (St. Lucie) which reports that 141% voter turnout does NOT make a prima facie case for voter fraud?

    Obviously, your hatred for West has overpowered your reason, such as it is.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  18. @James Young:

    As one of Florida’s leading political bloggers, who is a conservative by the way, says, there is no evidence of an overvote in St. Lucie County:

    “Anything else you hear out there about this race is bogus or simply speculation. Reports that there is over-voting in St. Lucie county is speculative. The candidates and amendments took up two voter cards, so some voters just voted on one card and not the other, some voted on both and turned them in, which accounts for the fact that there were more voter cards turned in than actual registered voters. West’s campaign does believe that there could be at least 700 extra cards submitted, that could translate into 350 extra votes.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  19. Pug says:

    @James Young:
    A quick visit to the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections web site and you would know that each voter was given two ballots, one with candidates for office and one with 11 ballot iniatives cynically put up by the Republican legislature with the intent of slowing down voters and lengthening wait times. Many voters turned in two ballots , making the number of votes cast greater than the number of registered voters.

    Or you can use a “statistic” you probably got from some wing nut web site.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. @mantis:

    I’m not talking about the recount process and I leave it to the Minnesota people to figure out their election management, but the outcome was certified in January and Coleman

    No, the election was not certified until June 2009. Again, you seem to have rather oddly remembered version of what happened, as the January order to certify Franken was issued by federal courts, where as the Minnesota courts were the ones that dragged the thing out for another year. If you truly do “leave it to the Minnesota people to figure out their election management”, then you actually have to take Coleman’s side as his delays were through the election contest process laid out in Minnesota law, where as Franken was the one going to federal courts arguing that Minnesota law can’t indefinitely draw out the seating of the US Senate.

    You basically seem to be reconciling to incompatible view points(“election disputes should be resolved by the states” and “Coleman was unlawfully drawing out the election process”) by creating a dogs breakfast of history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  21. Scott O says:

    @James Young: Keep retreating from reality dude. Don’t ever let it catch you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. Console says:

    He can’t even leave behind his late 80’s high top fade. Of course he will have trouble giving up his congressional seat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. Scott O says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified the recounted vote totals, with Franken ahead by 225 votes.[59]

    On January 6, 2009, Coleman’s campaign filed an election contest, which led to a trial before a three-judge panel.[60] The trial ended on April 7, when the panel ruled that 351 of 387 disputed absentee ballots were incorrectly rejected and ordered them counted. Counting those ballots raised Franken’s lead to 312 votes. Coleman appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on April 20.[2][61][62] On April 24, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.[63] and oral arguments were conducted on June 1.[64]

    On June 30, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected Coleman’s appeal and said that Franken was entitled to be certified as the winner.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Franken#Elections

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  24. @Scott O:

    After the Canvassing Board finished the recount, the next step was for the state to issue an official certificate of election. State law requires a seven-day delay from the Canvassing Board’s final report until the certificate can be issued and signed by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Furthermore, state law states that a certificate cannot be issued if an election contest is pending.[66][67]

    On January 12, 2009, Franken sent a letter to Ritchie and Pawlenty requesting an election certificate. Both declined, citing the unresolved election contest by Coleman.[68] Later that day, Franken filed suit in Federal court to force the state to issue a certificate, claiming that federal law relating to Senate elections superseded state law.[68] The next day his campaign asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to require Pawlenty and Ritchie to issue the certificate,[67] and the court held a hearing on the suit on February 5, 2009.[69]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_Minnesota,_2008

    Certifying the totals != certifying the election

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Scott O says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You’re right that the state didn’t certify the election till June but I think mantis’ earlier point, “but the outcome was certified in January and Coleman tied it up in courts for six months with no hope to win and no purpose except to deny the Democrats a 60-seat majority”, is valid if not semantically 100% accurate.

    Can I ask where you got this from?

    1) Both sides tied that election up in courts. It was in fact the Franken camp that intiated the lawsuits rather than waiting for the standard recount process to complete.

    From the Wiki link you put up it appears that Coleman was the one that first went to the courts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    West’s only path forward appears to be through the courts. Under state law, he still could contest the election if misconduct or fraud might have changed its result.

    Interesting how so many hardcore conservartives seem to hate the judicial system–unless they need it to help them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    stormy:

    Certifying the totals != certifying the election

    This is what CNN reported on 1/4/09:

    Panel to declare Franken winner of Senate race … A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, state officials told CNN Sunday. A board will say Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race by 225 votes, Minnesota’s secretary of state says. The canvassing board on Monday will say a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN.

    According to CNN, the Secretary of State told them “Franken won.” An election lawyer might care about the difference between “certifying the totals” and “certifying the election,” but “Franken won” sounds a lot like “Franken won.”

    CNN then ran this headline the next day:

    Minnesota canvassing board certifies Franken win

    “Certifies Franken win” sounds a lot like “certifying the election” (even though an official certificate of election had not yet been issued).

    You said this:

    It was in fact the Franken camp that intiated the lawsuits rather than waiting for the standard recount process to complete.

    That’s “creating a dogs breakfast of history.” Franken did wait “for the standard recount process to complete.” Both side waited “for the standard recount process to complete.” But when that process completed and found that “Franken won,” Coleman responded with litigation. The first to sue after “a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes” was Coleman, not Franken. As Scott said: “Coleman was the one that first went to the courts.” This is the key point.

    the Minnesota courts were the ones that dragged the thing out for another year

    More “dogs breakfast.” It was Coleman who dragged it out, not “the Minnesota courts.” And it was six months, not a year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    Also relevant (1/6/09, shortly after the recount was completed, showing that “Franken won”):

    Former Gov. Carlson urges Coleman to concede … Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson says Republican Norm Coleman should concede … Carlson says Coleman shouldn’t sue over the results of the recount.

    Carlson was a Republican governor who now considers himself an independent. He endorsed Barack Obama for president but didn’t support a candidate in the Senate race. He attended the 1996 press conference where Coleman switched from Democrat to Republican, and supported Coleman’s 1998 bid for governor.

    Carlson predicts that Coleman would probably lose a legal challenge to the recount. He says delaying a finish to the race would damage Coleman’s image with the public and says, “There’s no disgrace in losing.”

    Of course Coleman did lose his “legal challenge to the recount.” As mantis said, he “tied up the matter in court for six months to intentionally thwart the will of the voters and keep the Democrats from having another vote in the Senate, sticking his thumb in the eye of democracy.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. gVOR08 says:

    With Republican pols there’s always the same question, “Do they believe their crazy BS, or is it just an act?” Now we know, at least in Allen West’s case, that he really is crazy. Come January, is a sergeant at arms going to have to move his stuff out of his office?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. Patrick Henry says:

    What a bunch of fin idiots. Fact is at one counting of the votes it showed that there are 175,554 registered voters but 247,713 people (dead and illegal) voted. Get a grip “Progressives”. What will you do when the pendulum swings overwhelmingly (and it will)? You will do the whine about corruption. Idiot liberals make me puke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    175,554 registered voters but 247,713 people (dead and illegal) voted

    Explained:

    St. Lucie had a two-page ballot this cycle (with races on both front and back of each of the two pages); each page of the ballot was listed as a separate “card.” Some voters didn’t complete both cards (the second page was entirely lengthy ballot initiatives), so the number of cards isn’t exactly twice the number of voters. But some voters did complete both cards, leaving the number of “cards” well over the number of total voters

    You can also see that explained here:

    TURNOUT PERCENTAGES WILL SHOW OVER 100% DUE TO A TWO PAGE BALLOT. THE TABULATION SYSTEM (GEMS) PROVIDES VOTER TURNOUT AS EQUAL TO THE TOTAL CARDS CAST IN THE ELECTION DIVIDED BY THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS.

    As someone said recently:

    Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex

    This is yet another example in a very long series.

    What a bunch of fin idiots.

    That’s you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. J-Dub says:

    @Console:

    He can’t even leave behind his late 80′s high top fade. Of course he will have trouble giving up his congressional seat.

    After some soul searching, he will run again in 2014, but with a Gumby.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Patrick Henry says:

    @JoshB:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Patrick Henry says:

    CENSORED by the leftists again!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Patrick Henry says:

    The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board did a recount of three days of early voting and the voter count subsequently declined by nearly 1,000 ballots. It stands to reason that if the remaining early votes were to be recounted, additional errors would be uncovered and the tabulation of votes revised accordingly. When it’s close vote fraud by the Demoncrats is a given (that’s why they complain about the recount).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    It stands to reason …

    It stands to reason that only a fool would take you seriously. You said this:

    247,713 people (dead and illegal) voted

    That claim is false. When are you going to take responsibility for making a false claim?

    The GOP continues its war on reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0