Sometimes it takes a village. Or a court motion. Or a recount demand. Or a dismissal of voter fraud accusations. Or, finally, the cold-water dip realization that no matter how many times one taps his well-heeled heels together, he’s not going back to Kan– well, in this case, Florida. Not to the House of Representatives, anyway.
Allen West, former Congressman representing the Tea Party faction of the Florida GOP, mouthy firebrand who became more famous for his incendiary comments than his congressional accomplishments, and sore loser who refused concession even after weeks of post-election legal wrangling, has finally conceded.
After a bruising campaign with a record-breaking price tag (West spent over $17 million…$17 million!), a humiliating early loss to a heretofore unknown who’d never dabbled in politics prior (winner Patrick Murphy is the former owner of a construction company), and the embarrassment of repeated legal smackdowns to his many requests for court intervention, the final sucker punch came when, after finally being granted his motion for a recount, the numbers actually rose for his opponent.
That’s gotta hurt.
According to Matt Sedensky at the Huffington Post:
In a statement, the Republican freshman said “there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results” but not enough to change the outcome, giving the race to Democratic newcomer Patrick Murphy.
“While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change,” West said.
Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich said he was not aware of any concession call to his candidate, simply an e-mail that was publicly distributed. In his own statement, Murphy said he was “humbled by Congressman West’s gracious concession” and eager to get to work on behalf of all voters.
In an odd twist last week, West was invited by Sue Everhart, the chairman of the Georgia GOP, to run for office there. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution
“I would be glad to have him come back to Georgia and at some point run here,” Everhart told my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy during a discussion about diversity within the Republican party. “I would certainly try to help him because he has done his job. The way he ran his race didn’t in any way interfere with the job he did. He ran as a Republican, a conservative Republican.”
Everhart called the one-term West “one of the finest congressmen this country’s ever had.”
West was less interested:
“No,” the former lieutenant colonel replied. “Look, let me tell you something. I have moved my wife around for 20-some-odd years, being in the military, and she was also the daughter of a career military guy. When I retired, she chose Florida. That’s where my daughter’s in school, in college, my youngest daughter’s in high school. That’s our home. It’s a very nice thing, but I’m not an NFL free agent.”
Hopefully, for the sake of his Florida-loving family, Mr. West will find gainful employment doing something else in that state besides being its congressman. But after the last two weeks of relentless “clinging to one last hope,” Mr. West can now let down his arms, step away from the table, and get on with his life. Given his attraction to the limelight, it’s likely we’ll be hearing from him, and his memorable mouth, at some point in the future.
And hereby ends the Fifth Installment of the Allen West Won’t Concede Series. If you’d like to fill in any of the blanks, please enjoy the first four below. And don’t hesitate to click here for a refresher on some of Mr. West’s “Most Outrageous Statements.”
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.
Third Installment. The Allen West Post-Election Campaign – Florida’s ‘Thing That Wouldn’t Leave’: 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:
Fourth Installment: Votes Are Counted, Allen West Lost But Claims ‘Race Remains Undecided’: As of Saturday morning, November 10, 2012, all the votes in Florida were counted and Allen West lost. His campaign, however, maintains that the “race remains undecided.” For them, maybe; not so much anyone else. You got the boot, Mr. West. It’s not even “complicated.” Florida broke up with you. Stop being a bad boyfriend. Pick yourself up, mourn as you will, but MOVE ON, man!