Additional litigation possible in West-Murphy congressional race

The legal battle surrounding the results of Rep. Allen West's (R-Fla.) reelection bid is likely not over yet, as both he and Democrat Patrick Murphy have indicated a willingness to move forward with litigation, regardless of the official results.

The St. Lucie County canvassing board decided late Friday to recount votes from all eight days of early voting, according to the West campaign, which called the decision a "victory for the voters of St. Lucie County."  

"Despite the best efforts of Patrick Murphy and his team of attorneys to suppress the vote, the citizens of St. Lucie County will rest easy tonight knowing their voices will be heard," Tim Edson, West's campaign manager, said in a statement.

Earlier Friday, a judge dismissed West's case calling for a full recount of ballots from all eight days of early voting in St. Lucie County, a major part of Florida's 18th District, eliminating his final legal option before the county's vote canvassing board met.

The St. Lucie County judge said on Friday that "he did not have the authority to order the recount," according to the Palm Beach Post

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But according to the Post, Murphy's attorney, Gerald Richman, said that if the canvassing board did order a full recount, the campaign would be back in court to prevent it.

“If the canvassing board were to decide that they want to do that without any evidentiary basis to do so, we’ll be back before your honor with a motion for injunctive relief against them doing it because under the law the statute that we cited for your honor they have absolutely no right to do it,” Richman said.

At last count, West trails Murphy by 1,907 votes, or 0.58 percentage points, just outside the 0.5-percentage-point margin that would force an automatic recount. That result has not yet been officially certified, but Murphy attended orientation events with newly-elected lawmakers in Washington this week.

West filed a complaint in the St. Lucie County circuit court requesting an injunction to force a full recount of early votes in the county after a partial recount, of three early days of voting, resulted in shift in the number of votes tallied by 799 ballots.

West's campaign has said the discrepancy raised questions about the legitimacy of the vote-counting process in St. Lucie County and was seeking a recount to ensure every vote was counted in the race.

Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich called the case a "political stunt," and said that Murphy would like to move forward as congressman for the 18th District.

“Patrick is ready to put the campaign behind him and move forward with addressing the challenges facing the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, first and foremost of which is getting Florida back to work," he said in a statement.

— This story was originally posted at 3:36 p.m. and updated at 10:30 p.m.