STUART, Fla. - Allen West's primary win in the U.S. Congressional 18th District means the end of the political road for Robert Crowder, the longtime Martin County Sheriff who conceded the race shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening.
Despite a loss to West, Crowder campaign supporters were patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Sheriff Crowder said this loss - and this race - ultimately came down to dollars.
"It's not an easy thing to do when the odds are slanted against you," said Crowder at an election night event at Tin Fish Restaurant in Stuart. His campaign said it was trying offer voters in Martin, St. Lucie and northern Palm Beach counties a local option. West moved from Broward County into District 18 boundaries just a few months ago. "They wanted someone who knew their problems, shared their problems, who knew their children and that intimate relationship is gone," he said.
In the end, Crowder said it was not West's message, but West's millions of campaign dollars that the sheriff and his supporters could not compete with. "We were running against a candidate with over 10 million dollars and a year and a half head start on us."
Crowder is a five-term sheriff in Martin County. He will hold that post through January of next year, when Crowder plans to retire after decades of public service on the Treasure Coast.