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Tea Party idol Allen West refuses to concede race

Rep. Allen West.  (Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters)
Rep. Allen West.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) refused to concede his congressional race Sunday, despite losing his re-election bid to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy this past Tuesday.

Murphy led West by 2,442 votes, giving him 50.4% of the total ballot count and thus placing the race outside the margin which would trigger a recount. The state of Florida certified Murphy's victory Saturday.

West argued that there were "discrepancies" at the polls and demanded that the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections recount all early votes. Although Florida has yet to count a few military votes, their numbers would be added to Saturday's figures and would likely not tip the election towards the incumbent. West could only continue to challenge the vote through the courts.

"If I come out on the short end of the stick, guess what?" West said to a local Florida television station. "I salute the flag, I wish you good luck and I continue on, and hopefully my replacement will be able to go up and contend with these monumental issues."

West rode a wave of Tea Party anger to the House of Representatives in 2010. In his time in office, he has accused Congressional Progressive Caucus members of being members of the Communist party, called DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.Fla.) "vile" and "not a lady," and referred to President Obama as a "low-level Socialist agitator."

A 22-year veteran of the Army, West resigned from the military in 2003 after he was charged with violating the Uniform Code of Conduct following an incident where he shot off his pistol near the head of an Iraqi policeman he was interrogating.

The race for Florida's 18th congressional district seat was reportedly the country's most expensive House campaign, with both Allen and Murphy raising about $21 million.