Allen West, Patrick Murphy race update: West pushes for ballot recounts hearing

Judge denies request for injunction

UPDATE: Judge denies Congressman Allen West's request for an injunction to impound voting machines and ballots in Palm Beach County. CLICK HERE TO READ UPDATED STORY: bitly link:


PALM BEACH GARDENS — While U.S. Rep. Allen West fights for his political life by demanding more ballots be counted — and, in some cases, recounted — Patrick Murphy kicked off a tour of handshakes and thank-you's Thursday celebrating the congressional seat he's sure he has won.

West's legal push for a recount was delayed Thursday evening when his hearing at Palm Beach County's main courthouse was bumped to noon Friday. The Palm Beach Gardens Republican filed injunctions against the supervisors of elections in Palm Beach and St. Lucie to impound voting machines and ballots. West didn't target Martin County, where he won by almost 11,000 votes.

The time and day of the St. Lucie hearing was not known as of early Friday morning.

Holding onto a razor-thin edge with all precincts reporting, Murphy started a three-day, three-county "thank-you" tour Thursday at his Palm Beach Gardens headquarters. The Jupiter Democrat said he was confident with his lead in District 18 and plans to go to Congress's freshman orientation in Washington next week.

 West announced the legal action 10 hours after Murphy declared himself the District 18 winner, which MSNBC confirmed.

"I look at it as a movement of moderation in our country," Murphy said Thursday about the election results. "I think this is a signal to the public and really to Congress that we need people that are willing to compromise, willing to come together. The voters spoke, and we won this race."

Shortly after the Palm Beach hearing was rescheduled, Murphy's attorney filed paperwork to intervene. Murphy's attorney Gerald Richman told The Palm Beach Post the court papers filed by West's attorneys were riddled with errors, including failing to name a defendant, and saying that West would be "irreparably" harmed if the ballots and machines were not impounded.

Ken Spillias, attorney for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, filed court papers saying West's "invitation for judicial intervention in the middle of an election is nothing short of an invitation to chaos," according to the Post.

With 100 percent of precincts in, The Associated Press still has not declared a District 18 winner. After election night, Murphy garnered 160,328 votes to West's 157,872. That's a difference of 2,456. Percentage-wise, it's 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, or a 0.8 percent lead favoring Murphy.

Only a 0.5 percent margin of victory or less triggers a recount in Florida. Counties have to report unofficial results to the state by noon Saturday to determine that margin, said state Division of Elections spokesman Kevin Cate.

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