Florida congressman Allen West has won his re-election bid by a narrow enough margin to prompt a full recount, according to sources within the Republican’s ranks.
“Boots on the ground update from the Allen West election count via Gary Angelo Galiano: ‘We win by 195,'” Congresman West supporter Gary Angelo Galiano posted on his Facebook account early Saturday morning.
The margin of victory is within legal guidelines to prompt an automatic recount of all the votes in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, something Congressman West has pushed for since Democrat Party challenger Patrick Murphy was declared the winner early Wednesday morning.
The news follows earlier reports that Congressman West was ahead by 300 votes in predominately-Democrat Palm Beach County on Thursday afternoon.
Citing several discrepancies within the voting process, lawyers representing Congressman West have pushed for a recount on two fronts. On Friday, Circuit Court judge David F. Crow dismissed a motion to impound ballots and voting machines in Palm Beach County, declaring the Tea Party favorite “fell woefully short” in his request. A second motion in St. Lucie County is still pending, reports local television news outlet WPTV.
The West campaign alleged a “recount” of votes in St. Lucie County saw the congressman move from a 2,400 vote lead to lagging behind his Democrat challenger by 2,000 ballots.
Other shenanigans have surfaced in the past several days since the election was held, reports the Washington Times. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer lawyer for the West campaign, told the paper his people were not allowed to witness the vote count at the Riveria Beach vote tabulation center after many ballots were damaged and had to be re-created. Physical barriers were set up to block observers, and after one elderly man complained, he was escorted out of the building by a sheriff’s deputy.
Team West volunteer Ellen Snyder said supervisors “screamed at her twice” for asking questions, and threatened to remove her from the building.
Questions surrounding how an estimated 8,000 military absentee ballots were being counted have also been raised.
If the early Saturday morning report is true, a full and final recount of all votes will be conducted in Tallahassee. It is expected to take at least two weeks.
West supporters, who were on hand last night during the ballot count, remain steadfast that their candidate has won but a recount will be made.
UPDATE (11.10, 17:00): Gary Angelo Galiano, who made the original claim that Congressman West won, has updated his report:
“Allen West won in Palm Beach County by 185 votes,” Galiano wrote. “He won bigger in Martin County.
“The final vote count in Port St. Lucie is being held up with legal filings and we may not know anything more until Wednesday.”