St. Lucie County judge to hear Allen West's request for early vote recount

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - On Friday, a St. Lucie County judge will hear U.S. Rep. Allen West's request to recount all of the early votes cast in the race for the 18th Congressional district.

West, the Tea Party favorite who appeared to be headed for defeat after Democrat Patrick Murphy was projected to win the race, has refused to concede.

In an interview with WPTV NewsChannel 5 in Washington, DC, West said the race remained undecided.

"We are within 249 votes of a mandatory recount," he said. "All we are saying is do the right thing by the voters and do the full early vote recount because that is where the issue is. "

After a partial recount of ballots cast during the final three days of early voting in St. Lucie County, Murphy led West by about 1,900 votes or a margin of more than 0.5% — more than what would trigger an automatic recount.

"It stands to reason that if the remaining early votes were to be recounted, additional errors would be uncovered and the tabulation of votes revised accordingly," Allen West for Congress said in a statement.

The campaign called the recount a "sham" and said all eight days of early voting in St. Lucie County should be have been recounted.

David Drury, a Florida Division of Elections bureau chief, arrived in St. Lucie County on Wednesday to begin an audit of how the county's canvassing board ran the election.

A spokesperson for Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he expected Drury and two others from the state's Bureau of Voting Systems Certification to remain in St. Lucie County through the weekend.

Last week, a Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge denied a request by West to impound voting machines and recount ballots.

Judge David Crow said the arguments West's attorneys made during the hearing fell "woefully short" of what was necessary for him to issue an injunction.

Gerald Richman, an attorney for Murphy and a key figure in the 2000 presidential recount, called the hearing a "political stunt" and "unfounded. "

West has less than one week left to contest the election.

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