Florida recount begins in Allen West district

Rep. Allen West.
Rep. Allen West.
Joe Skipper/Reuters

The congressional race between Tea Party Rep. Allen West and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy is getting uglier, with the St. Lucie county board kicking off a recount of all the early votes in the contest Saturday.

Murphy beat West on Election Day by a little more than 2,000 votes, placing his win beyond the .5% margin of victory trigger for an automatic recount.

West, however, claimed there were voter irregularities and demanded a partial recount of early-voting ballots. When the recount of the last three-days of early voting lowered Murphy’s total by 667 votes and increased West’s results by 132, the incumbent’s lawyers demanded a full recount of all eight days of early voting, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The county canvassing board admitted that 306 votes—mostly filled with write-in candidates—had been uncounted, and that other votes had been ignored.

Caught in between cries of voter fraud from both Democrats and Republicans, the canvassing board began its recount of all the early votes Saturday. It expected to certify results Tuesday. Should Murphy’s lead dip below the .5% margin necessary for the recount, West hopes for a full recount.

Lawyers for Murphy argued at a hearing prior to the board’s decision that there was no evidence on which to base a recount and that they would seek an injunction to stop a retabulation.

In an interview with msnbc’s Chris Matthews, Murphy said that there was “no question” that he’d won the race and that he looked forward to getting to work.