WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tea party firebrand Rep. Allen West conceded his re-election fight Tuesday, two weeks after the election gave way to court appearances, two partial recounts and unending accusations by his camp that the vote count wasn't fair.
In a statement, the Republican freshman said "there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results" but not enough to change the outcome, giving the race to Democratic newcomer Patrick Murphy.
"While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change," West said.
Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich said he was not aware of any concession call to his candidate, simply an e-mail that was publicly distributed. In his own statement, Murphy said he was "humbled by Congressman West's gracious concession" and eager to get to work on behalf of all voters.
"To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice," Murphy said. "I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, and that is as important in this district as it is in Washington."
Murphy declared victory in the wee hours of Election Night and has held his lead ever since, even as thousands of absentee, provisional and overseas ballots were processed and two partial recounts undertaken. But West's campaign kept up a stream of skepticism about the results, largely focused on St. Lucie County, where elections officials acknowledged missteps.
An initial recount of some early ballots in St. Lucie gave West a slight bump. His campaign fought for a fuller recount, and received it, but it only improved Murphy's margin of victory. He won by more than 2,000 votes.
Many have speculated West could find a new career in the place where he has been frequently seen, on cable television, but he has not said what his next step will be. "Only God knows what is in store for each of us," he said in his statement, adding that "I will continue to fight for our republic."
Whatever the next step, the contest between Murphy and West will go down as one of the most expensive in congressional history. Murphy eked out the win though he was out-fundraised more than four-to-one.
West, 51, is a favorite among the most conservative reaches of the Republican Party. He has made a string of headline-grabbing statements, from calling a majority of congressional Democrats communists to saying President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others should "get the hell out of the United States."
Murphy, 29, portrayed West as an extremist who had done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.
In his concession statement, West offered congratulations to Murphy, saying "I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own."