Democrat Patrick Murphy declared victory over Republican Rep. Allen West in the battle for Florida’s 18th district congressional race Sunday after election officials missed a noon deadline to file recount results.

St. Lucie County did not meet the cutoff to finish processing the 37,379 early ballots as required, the Palm Beach Post reported:

Under Florida law, the final certified results were due from all of the state’s 67 supervisors of elections today. If the results do not arrive on time, the certified unofficial results submitted last Sunday stand. Those results have Murphy winning by 0.58 percent. A spread of less than 0.5 percent would have triggered an automatic recount.

“Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District,” Anthony Kusich, Murphy for Congressman campaign manager, said in a prepared statement issued around 12:40 p.m. “The voters have spoken and Patrick Murphy is once again the clear winner. It is beyond time to put this campaign behind us and put the interests of the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches first.”

“All Patrick Murphy wanted was to follow the law,” said attorney Gerald Richman, a member of Murphy’s legal team. “They absolutely missed it (deadline). Whatever it is, it is. We just want the law to be followed.”

But West’s campaign vowed the fight wasn’t over yet. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported:

“They did this recount because they weren’t confident in the outcome,” said West campaign manager Tim Edson. “Now, because they missed the deadline, we’re not going to know whether they were right in their concern or not.”

Edson said the incumbent’s campaign was looking at what could be done to possibly extend the deadline and suggested the fight was not yet over. “We’ll continue with all legal options that are available,” he said.

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