St. Lucie recount results shows Patrick Murphy still ahead of Allen West

FORT PIERCE -- Results of recounting more than 37,000 St. Lucie County ballots were announced shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and preliminary figures given by Canvassing Board member Tod Mowery placed Jupiter Democrat Patrick Murphy farther ahead of Republican Allen West than before the two-day effort began.

Murphy campaign senior advisor Eric Johnson was quick to reaffirm victory.

"As far as we're concerned, this puts an end to it," Johnson said. "The West people demanded a recount. They got that retabulation and Patrick Murphy gained a margin of 242 votes.

""This election is over," Johnson added.

Mowery said the final count was 65,841 votes for Murphy and 52,704 for West. The results still are unofficial.

Together with votes from Martin and northern Palm Beach counties, the two other counties in District 18, Murphy's lead was still outside the 0.5 percent difference that would mandate a recount under state law.

Whether West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, will attempt further legal challenges remains an open question.

"We are still evaluating how to handle this," West campaign manager Tim Edson said. "It's a unique case."

Neither candidate was present Saturday or Sunday at the office of Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker during the recount. Nor was Walker herself, who was hospitalized Friday.

Walker's administrative assistant, Annie Clark, oversaw elections workers during the weekend effort.

"We made the noon deadline," she said.

The Murphy campaign went into this weekend's recount of more than 37,000 early votes with a 1,907 vote lead over West. That lead was 12,895 votes in St. Lucie County, but was reduced by West majorities in Martin and northern Palm Beach Counties.

Shortly after noon, the campaign of Patrick Murphy is declaring their Jupiter Democrat the winner is the District 18 congressional race, based on the thought that St. Lucie County officials did not send this weekend's recount results to state elections officials on time.

"Twelve o'oclock is the certification deadline," said Eric Johnson, senior advisor to the Murphy campaign. "When that certification deadline passes, the last results posted are the official results."

Johnson said he had consulted with a lawyer before arriving at that announcement.

However, Clark said election officials got the results to the state in time.

"We met the noon deadline," Clark said.

Marc Traum, a member of the county Canvassing Board, said he did not know whether or not results were sent to Tallahassee by noon. They had not yet been announced.

At least 100 people were at St Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office at 8 a.m. for the tightly contested congressional race between Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter and Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens.

An audience member asked Canvassing Board member Tod Mowery if they expected to complete the recount by a noon deadline imposed by the state Division of Elections.

"Buddy," Mowery replied, "We're here to tear that apart!"

The large room where the retabulation of eight days worth of early voting ballots is taking place opened about 8:15 a.m. Watchers from both camps awaited the actual count, suspended late Saturday night, to resume.

Murphy held a 1,907 vote edge over West going into this weekend's marathon recount in St. Lucie County.

Murphy's attorneys tried unsuccessful Saturday to stop what it said was an illegal recount ordered by the county's Canvassing Board. But Circuit Judge Larry Schack ruled against the request.

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