Republican Rep. Allen West (Fla.) on Tuesday conceded his House race to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
"For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly," said West in a statement. “While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.”
Murphy had led by less than 1 percent in the unofficial count since Election Day, but by a sufficient margin to avoid triggering an automatic district-wide recount.
West had initially refused to concede, and had pressed officials to recount ballots in the tight race. Murphy’s campaign, though, quickly declared victory, and the candidate had attended orientation events in Washington, D.C., last week.
Last weekend, West won a legal challenge forcing St. Lucie County to re-tally early ballots, but that count only added to Murphy’s lead. West's campaign had considered asking for a court hearing after the county also failed to report the recount results by a Sunday noon deadline for certification.
“While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and [Sunday’s] recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, under-counted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election,” said West in his statement.
Reports said state elections officials were now expected to certify the results Tuesday. State law would allow West to contest the election results 10 days after certification, but the GOP lawmaker ruled out that possibility.
“While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change,” he said in his statement.
“Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success. Therefore, we will not contest the certification or challenge the seating of Congressman-elect Murphy,” West added.
The Tea Party favorite offered praise for his opponent and said he had been honored to serve in Washington.
"Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or, for that matter, to any individual. It belongs to the people," said West. "I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new congressman from the 18th congressional district. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own."
In a statement Tuesday, Murphy said he was ready to begin work in Washington.
“I appreciate Congressman West's gracious concession today. I am truly humbled that the voters of the 18th district have entrusted me to represent them in Washington,” said Murphy. “To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice. I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, and that is as important in this district as it is in Washington. I am excited and honored to get to work.”
This story was last updated at 8:42 a.m.