Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West is not backing down on his decision to contest District 18 election results in St. Lucie County.
The Palm Beach Gardens Republican Saturday made one of his first public appearances since in Tuesday's election when he spoke at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum's annual muster.
Tight-lipped before the event, after it he said he hopes Democrat opponent Patrick Murphy 's lead for the congressional seat was not caused because "some people double-counted ballots up here in St. Lucie County."
"We have got to win in St. Lucie," West said. "We got some issues, so we need to make sure there's a fair electoral process. We owe it to these people. This is not about me."
Later Saturday night, West sent out a news release on the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board’s decision to hold an emergency meeting at 7 a.m. Sunday at the elections office, 4132 Okeechobee Road, to recount all ballots cast during early voting.
“West for Congress is pleased with the Supervisor’s decision, as the counting of early votes on Election Night was of great concern to our campaign, given the large shift that occurred at midnight of nearly 4,000 votes,” the release said.
Final, but unofficial, vote tallies completed Saturday in Palm Beach County put Murphy ahead of West in the race by 2,429 votes, according to the Palm Beach Post. The Associated Press also called Murphy the winner on Saturday.
The difference gives Murphy a 0.7 percent edge over West. The gap is larger than the 0.5 percent or less needed for an official recount under Florida election law.
West blamed part of the results on negative campaigning by Murphy. The race for District 18 was considered one of the costliest and most negative campaigns for the House of Representatives.
"I think that when you show me with a golden tooth, punching women, when you call my 22 years of service to this country a war criminal, don't ask me about negative campaigning," West said. "I think that's what the other side did. I'm not against children in wheelchairs. I don't beat my wife. I don't hate women."
He also said he doesn't regret not asking Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder for his endorsement to gain moderate Republican votes. Crowder lost to West in the GOP primary and endorsed Murphy.
"He should have reached out to me," West said. "You also need to ask Sheriff Crowder why did he say that he was not going to endorse anybody but he went back and did it. I really don't go after people who have a lack of integrity."
While he said he did not underestimate Murphy's ability to win, West added that if official results still show his opponent as the winner, he hopes Murphy works on reducing health care and gasoline costs.
"The most important thing is that he shows dedication to the people here," West said. "The American people is suffering. We have seen a drop in median family incomes ... You see food prices that are going up. Our monetary policy is horrible. We are devaluating our dollar. We are in a state of inflation."
West filed injunctions against the supervisor of elections in St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties to impound voting machines and paper ballots used in the elections.
On Friday, a Palm Beach judge denied West's motion, calling it premature because official results have not been determined. A hearing date has not yet been set for the St. Lucie County motion.
Asked if he will continue to pursue legal action in St. Lucie County if his injunction motion is denied, West said, "We have to sit down and talk about it."
West has been keeping a low public profile since Tuesday's election. On Friday, however, he attended a Veterans Day event at Martin County High School. He also said he is going to the Stuart Air Show and riding his motorcycle in a Veterans Day parade on Sunday. At the muster, he shook hands with supporters.
He said he has plans for the future, but declined to talk about what comes next in his career.
"God is in control," West said. "I don't worry about me. You guys shouldn't worry about me."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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