Allen West's campaign blasts rival for attending new member events in DC

Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) campaign blasted Democrat Patrick Murphy for attending freshman orientation at the Capitol this week.

Murphy declared victory over West in Florida's 18th district last weekend and is participating in workshops for new members of Congress.

“I think it is premature of him,” Tim Edson, West’s campaign manager, said on a conference call Wednesday. “I understand he would like to move on and wrap this up, but for someone who claims to be certified public accountant, you would expect him to be a little more concerned about the shifting numbers and the inaccuracies of these numbers.”

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West too was in Washington, for the lame-duck session of Congress, while Murphy attended programs designed to help newly elected lawmakers navigate Capitol Hill.

The freshman Republican, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, has refused to concede repeatedly to Murphy — despite trailing by almost 2,000 votes — and on Tuesday filed a complaint with a Florida court seeking a full recount of all early ballots in St. Lucie County, a large part of the district.

The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board recounted three days of early voting, due to a machine malfunction, but West's campaign wants all eight days of early ballots counted. It claims that after the initial recount, the voter count declined by nearly 1,000 ballots.

West lost 132 votes and Murphy dropped 667 votes in the recount of 16,275 early ballots, according to Florida news reports.

The lawmaker remains 1,907 votes short of Murphy — or 0.58 percentage points — according to the latest numbers from the Florida secretary of state, falling just shy of the 0.5-point threshold to trigger an automatic recount.

And Florida secretary of state, Ken Detzner, announced Tuesday that he would send three auditors to St. Lucie County to investigate voter tabulation and machines that led to skewed results.

Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer for the West campaign, said the announcement of the polling auditors is a good sign but the campaign would continue to push the recount through the court.

“We are hopeful that that process helps to uncover some of these answers if the court process drags on,” he said Wednesday.

A separate complaint from West's campaign, asking to impound ballots and voting machines, was denied in a Palm Beach Circuit Court last Friday. The judge in that case, David Crow, called West's motion "entirely premature" and asserted that "courts should not get involved in the election process."

Meanwhile Murphy is attending Democratic caucus meetings and preparing to take office in January.

He and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have continued to fundraise in anticipation of a court battle. West outspent Murphy by more than $10 million and Murphy had about $250,000 as of the last filing two weeks before the election compared to West’s $3.3 million.

“Allen West continues to drag us into a lengthy legal battle instead of just admitting he lost,” Anthony Kusich, Murphy’s campaign manager wrote in a fundraising email Wednesday. “It's clear he has no plans to stop.”

The race for Florida's 18th district was one of the most expensive in the nation and featured brutal campaign ads by both sides.

The result of the race will be officially certified on Friday, as a handful of overseas and military ballots remain outstanding, but the legal battle could drag on for weeks.