St. Lucie County election authorities missed a Sunday deadline to report results of a recount of the race for Florida's 18th Congressional District where Representative Allen West (R-Fla.) is fighting to keep his seat in a closely contested race with Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
As a result, the authorities are recognizing unofficial results that put Murphy narrowly on top, effectively unseating the Tea Party darling who so far has refused to concede the race even though Murphy had already claimed victory.
The West campaigned had secured a partial victory on Friday when the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections ordered a retabulation of all eight days of early voting. Though Murphy continued to hold a narrow lead, the Republican claimed "there were issues" with the way ballots were counted.
West had hoped to obtain a court order for the recounting of the votes, but had to settle with an order from the canvassing board that agreed to a partial recount of the early votes. However, they did not meet a noon cutoff to finish processing 37,379 ballots cast early in the District 18 congressional election.
And the West campaign keeps protesting, claiming that "they did this recount because they weren't confident in the outcome," said West campaign manager Tim Edson. "Now, because they missed the deadline, we're not going to know whether they were right in their concern or not," he added.
It's unlikely West, who's been decrying fraud all along will settle for this outcome. However, he's running out of time. This hasn't prevented the incumbent's campaign from saying they will try to extend the deadline, as well as continue "with all the legal options that are available."