As the post-election week drags on and loose ends are tidied up here and there with provisional ballots and other issues, Florida is winding the alarm clock, tapping their watch, and yawning without subtlety and, still, Allen West refuses to concede. In fact, the conclusion of his race with Patrick Murphy has become so stubborn, this is my third installment on the story since Tuesday!
First Installment: Tea Party Demagogue Allen West Ousted By Blue Collar Newcomer. Remember back then, Election Night? We were so optimistic. So ready to move on. Seems West wasn’t. Despite his challenger’s higher vote total throughout, the wild, wild West decided he wanted to see bigger numbers before he headed for the door. Which led to…
Second Installment: Allen West Won’t Go Down Easy – Recount Demanded. With no legal provision to do so (vote differential was high enough to prevent one), West’s campaign filed a motion with the court to do a recount, as well as impound all voting machines, implying a concern for vote manipulation. It wasn’t that he was a sore loser, it was more that, if he was going to lose, he wanted to lose by way more than 2400 votes.
Now we’ve got the Third Installment. Turns out the West campaign had two hearings today to adjudicate his motions; one in St. Lucie County (which was cancelled), and another in West Palm Beach. According to CBS 12 News in Florida, the one that didn’t go much better:
…the one in West Palm Beach got under way with lawyers for West, Murphy and the Supervisor of Elections addressing the judge. West’s lawyers say their big concern is securing the ballots for a possible recount.
Judge David Crow appeared impatient with arguments from West’s attorneys. He took a brief recess at 12:40 p.m., saying he’d return in 15 minutes with an announcement.
When Crow returned shortly before 1 p.m., he announced he was denying West’s motion for an injunction, effectively leaving it to the county elections officials to follow procedures to determine a winner in the race.
It seems the vote differential, as high as 2500 on election night, has only dropped to 2100, with provisional ballots in the predominately Democratic leaning Palm Beach County still being counted. At issue is the rule for how low the differential can get before a mandatory recount is ordered; currently it isn’t low enough. West is holding out hope it will drop low enough but until then, he’s also advancing his suspicions of voter shenanigans, though no proof has so far been provided.
West’s problem is also one of perception. In an article aptly titled, Rep. Allen West wearing out his welcome with latest congressional race, writer Frank Cerabino makes the case that West’s extremist views and unfiltered lack of diplomacy put him at odds with even fellow Republicans:
He’s toast in this part of Florida. It’s as apparent as the words of Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder, a Republican who ran against West in the primary and endorsed Murphy before this week’s election.
“As a Republican for over 30 years, I’m embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party,” Crowder said in his endorsement. “Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he’s made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district.”
It seems likely there will be a Fourth Installment to this story, as the West campaign holds on, like The Thing that Wouldn’t Leave, to the flimsy and likely-to-be-thwarted hope of a turnaround in a race that has closed the door, flipped the lock, and switched off the lights.