Why Does Allen West Think He'll Win a Recount?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 19 2012 12:51 PM

Why Does Allen West Think He'll Win a Recount?

Democrats wrote off Allen West two weeks ago. When Nancy Pelosi brought newly-elected Democrats to the Capitol, she allowed Patrick Murphy, the 29-year old candidate who is narrowly ahead of West, to take a prominent spot in the front of the stage. Photos of Pelosi's new class were also photos of the Murphy -- hint, hint, hint.

But West has not conceded. His new district (he used to represent a more liberal slice of South Florida) includes conservative Martin County, a GOP-leaning part of Palm Beach County, and blueish St. Lucie County. In the first stage of the recount, St. Lucie went back over only three days of early votes, claiming that human error had fed some ballots twice. John Fund explains how elections supervisor Gertrude Walker blew it.

She admitted that her office had acted in “haste” in issuing election results, and that “mistakes were made.” Among her mistakes was failing to count 40 of the 94 precincts under her jurisdiction on Election Night — and then counting the other 54 twice. Indeed. On Friday, her office announced it had “discovered” 304 additional early votes left in a box. None had been counted.
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The first recount netted West nearly 500 votes, cutting down a margin of close to 2,500. West fought for, and won, a full recount. This hasn't been as definitive.

Murphy picked up 274 votes, according to Mowery, while West gained 32 votes.

The hope for West, who's trying to reverse a margin five times larger than the statewide margin in Bush v. Gore, is that more than 2,000 of his votes have been lost. You can see where he's coming from. The last tally of St. Lucie County found 65,841 votes for Murphy, and 52,704 for West. Barack Obama won 65,869 votes in the country, while Mitt Romney won 56,202 votes. Thousands of voters either split their tickets, or voted for Romney but not West -- or some West votes weren't counted. But the nucleus of the West challenge is the theory that the wrongly-counted votes all broke against him.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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