Murphy claims victory after recount deadline, West weighs challenge

Democrat Patrick Murphy’s campaign is claiming victory in his race to unseat GOP Rep. Allen West (Fla.) on Sunday after a deadline for certifying results passed and a partial recount added votes to the challenger’s lead. But the West campaign says they are still evaluating whether to launch a legal challenge contesting the count.

A partial recount of early ballots in St. Lucia Country showed Murphy gaining 242 votes, according to media reports. Before the partial recount of early ballots Sunday, Murphy was leading by 1,907 votes.

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A noon Sunday deadline, though, required officials to certify the result, leaving the Murphy camp to claim that the race was over. 

“Patrick Murphy expanded his lead to over 2,100 votes after Allen West’s latest recount, and now the Congressman needs to come to grips with the reality that he lost,” said Murphy’s campaign manager Anthony Kusich in a statement. “No matter which results Allen West looks at, he’s lost. This recount should once and for all lay to rest the false claims that West somehow was ‘cheated’ out of a seat in Congress.” 

West, however, signaled that his campaign was still examining the count and said there were “outstanding issues” to be resolved.

"Since Election Day we have been working for a fair and accurate accounting of the election outcome in which voters can put their full trust.  We will review the results of today's recount and the other available data to determine how to proceed,” said the Florida lawmaker in a statement late Sunday. “I have been humbled by the support we have received and the hard work of so many to ensure the integrity of this process.”

“We look forward to the report which will be issued by the Secretary of State's auditors this coming week which we hope will shed light on some of the outstanding issues," said West.

According to state law, the unofficial results as of Sunday will be certified unless either campaign obtains an emergency exemption from the state. 

West’s campaign has cited what they believe are voting irregularities to argue for a full recount of every vote, but Murphy’s campaign has called the legal challenges a “political stunt.”

But Murphy's campaign has claimed victory since election night and called for West to concede the race. 

Last week, Murphy attended orientation events with newly-elected lawmakers in Washington.

This story was first posted at 1:43 p.m. and has been updated.