In Florida’s 18th District, the race is still too close call. Down to the wire now, with Florida Rep. Allen West barely in the lead with 50.3% of the vote. While West was positioned to win the seat, Democrat Patrick Murphy has received 49.7% of the vote with 91.5% of the precincts counted, making the race too close to call. Florida news sources are suggesting the possibility of a recount, delaying the results even further.
Market Watch names the race between US Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy the costliest House race this election, amounting to a total of $23.6 million. While having the advantage of incumbency, West switched to a new district encompassing Martin and St. Lucie counties and part of Palm Beach, raising challenges in securing the election. To make up for it, West raised over $15 million, maintaining a 5-1o-1 cash advantage over Murphy.
Prior to the election, two polls released in October showed West in the lead, with the Sunshine State News giving him a 1% edge over his opponent and the Public Policy Polling report showing a 9-point lead.
Categorized a “toss up” by Real Clear Politics, the race between Republican US Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy turned out to be one of the dirtiest races in the country, with rhetoric stooping to personal attacks and partisan blows. Lacking West’s experience in the political realm, Democrat Patrick Murphy, aged 29, is new to politics. His lack of experience, however, did not stop him from playing the game, airing an attack ad featuring children repeating West’s incendiary statements.
West fired back with an ad that placed his service in the military against a mug shot of Murphy for a 2003 charge (that was later dropped) for intoxication and possession of a fake driver’s license.
West is known for his inflammatory statements, claiming that “78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party are members of the Communist Party,” and his 2011 statement that Obama supporters are a “threat to the gene pool.”
Primary opponent and fellow Republican Bob Crowder crossed party lines and publicly endorsed Democrat Patrick Murphy last Wednesday:
“As a Republican for over 30 years, I’m embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party. Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he’s made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district,” Crowder said in a statement.
The congressional seat was highly sought after by Democrats, who wanted a win in the 18th district to mark an end to the “right-wing Tea Party extremists” of which Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel believes West exemplifies.