A lawyer for Florida Republican Rep. Allen West’s re-election campaign said Saturday there is “absolutely no chance” of conceding the race despite Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy holding the lead by 2,429 votes.
A complete but unofficial vote tally released Saturday put Murphy ahead with 166,799 votes to West’s 164,370 — giving him a 0.7 percent advantage, above the 0.5 percent threshold to trigger an automatic recount, the Palm Beach Post reported.
But Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer lawyer for the West campaign, told TheBlaze there are significant concerns, particularly in St. Lucie County. St. Lucie is the only one of the three counties in the congressional district Murphy won, according to the AP.
“We have some serious challenges to make in St. Lucie County,” said Shapiro, who said he wasn’t speaking officially on the campaign’s behalf. “We have a lot of confidence that’s it’s very possible the numbers in St. Lucie County could change, and they could change dramatically…it definitely could change the outcome [of the race].”
One of the main issues Shapiro said was an sudden election night “recount” in St. Lucie that shifted 4,400 votes from West to Murphy, erasing West’s one-time 2,000-vote lead. Shapiro speculated some votes could have been fed through readers incorrectly or even have been counted twice.
“We are exploring every possible avenue that we can right now to find out if in fact these votes were counted accurately and correctly, or if they were counted at all,” Shapiro said.
He also said some precincts in St. Lucie showed more ballots were cast than the number of actual voters.
“There is absolutely no chance of concession before we have the answers to these questions because the campaign feels that every vote has the right to be heard,” Shapiro said. “For the media and Mr. Murphy’s campaign to prematurely declare victory before these very important issues have been resolved is irresponsible and unfair to the voters.”
Murphy declared victory over West early Wednesday. On Saturday, senior campaign adviser Eric Johnson told the Palm Beach Post it was “time for everyone to put the election behind them.”
“Since election night we’ve felt very comfortable in our margin of victory,” Johnson said.
Shapiro said an official vote count is due on Thursday and that West’s campaign will need to appear before the county canvassing board to make the case that the current votes cannot be certified.