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Rep. Allen West concedes in re-election bid

 

Firebrand Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., said Tuesday he had conceded in his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. 

Fourteen days after Election Day, West, a favorite of Tea Party conservatives who had sought a recount and raised the prospect of inaccuracies in the results, said in a statement that his legal team  "does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election."

"While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election," West said.

Joe Skipper / Reuters

Republican Rep. Allen West speaks at a campaign stop with guests at SCORE South Palm Beach, a resource partner to the Small Business Administration, in Boca Raton, Fla. Oct. 18, 2012.

Murphy led by about 1,900 votes following a partial recount in the district.

He added a bit later on Fox News: "We're going to move ahead and we wish Congressman-elect Murphy very well, but I think that now is not the time to draw the process out."

West was a lieutenant colonel in the Army, during which time he served in the Iraq war. He successfully ran for Congress in 2010, aided by the Republican headwinds that year in his challenge to Democrat Ron Klein in a swing district. He sought re-election in a slightly more favorable district following the redrawing of congressional district boundaries prompted every decade by the Census. 

The victory for Murphy adds to Democrats' pickup in the House, and disarms conservatives of one of their most brash voices in Congress. He, for instance, equated economic dependence upon government — through programs like Social Security — to slavery, and West called Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a fellow Florida lawmaker, "vile" and "not a lady."

West's departure from Capitol Hill also means that that Congress will lose one of its two black Republicans. West and South Carolina Rep. TIm Scott, R, are the only two African American members of the GOP conference; West was the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus.