Rep. Allen West, the Republican from Florida's 18th Congressional District whose unfettered style of throwing verbal grenades gained him a love-hate relationship with his constituents and colleagues, has conceded his tight congressional race to 29-year-old Patrick Murphy.
The former Army officer was embroiled in a tight and expensive race for a second term and was expected to defeat his younger opponent. West conceded the race after St. Lucie county election officials missed a deadline to count and report votes.
The final vote count showed Murphy leading by 1,904 votes, or 0.58 percent over West.
"While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and this past weekend's recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election," West said in a statement.
West was elected in 2010 along with a wave of tea party types who promised to change Congress and get the country back into a stronger fiscal position. However, a continuing budget battle with President Obama and Senate Democrats has produced little other than a fiscal cliff that looms over the country going into the remaining days of a lame-duck Congress.
With the race finally settled, the GOP will hold a 234-200 advantage in the House. Rep. Mike McIntyre's (D-N.C.) seat is the only outstanding House seat that remains unsettled, but he is leading his Republican opponent by a slim margin.
In a written statement issued on Monday, West vowed to stay in the fight for his county outside of Congress. "Only God knows what is in store for each of us. I have dedicated my life to serving this nation, and the results of this election will not change my purpose. Just as I did in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, just as I did on Capitol Hill, I will continue to fight for our Republic," West said.
The race was one of the most expensive in the county with West calling on his growing national name ID to raise money from fiscal conservatives. He outraised Murphy by a 4-to-1 margin.
Supporters encouraged West to pursue every legal option possible but after a judge declined to intervene on Friday, the campaign faced limited options.
"Serving the people in the House of Representatives has been among the highest honors of my life, but this seat does not belong to me, or for that matter, to any individual," West said in his statement. "It belongs to the people. I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own."