Rep. West wins legal challenge

Rep. Allen West's (R-Fla.) campaign is celebrating a circuit court judge's decision that blocked Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy's attempt to stop a recount of early votes in St. Lucie County, a major part of Florida's 18th District. 

"Clearly, if the canvassing board has already agreed there were discrepancies and under- or over-counted ballots, it would make no sense to halt the retabulation," West campaign manager Tim Edson said in a statement late Saturday. 

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"From the start, Murphy's motion was procedurally and substantively lacking." 

The Murphy campaign earlier in the day defended its effort to stop another recount, saying West simply won't come to terms with a loss.

“The votes were counted on Election Day, recounted last Sunday, and this would be the third time many of these votes have been counted," Murphy's communications director, Erin Moffet, said in a statement. 

"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."

The St. Lucie County canvassing board decided late Friday to recount votes from all eight days of early voting.

Murphy's campaign said the canvassing board's decision was "outside their legal authority."

At last count, West trailed 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."

--This report was originally posted at 11:31 a.m. and last updated at 8:21 p.m.

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