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West way ahead of Klein

Republican Allen West is comfortably ahead of Democrat U.S. Rep. Ron Klein as of nearly 10 p.m. The state's election website shows West ahead 57 to 44 percent with about 100,000 votes counted in a district that has about 470,000 voters.

With almost half the precincts counted in the Broward side of the district -- the smaller side of Congressional 22 -- West is ahead 54 percent-46 percent.

The West crowd, hundreds of supporters gathered at the Marriott at Town Center in Boca Raton, repeatedly erupts into cheers when large-screen TVs post news about Republicans poised to win tonight. Klein's supporters -- about 100 -- are gathered at the Embassy Suites hotel in Boca Raton and some appear nervous. But at least their music is optimistic: they are playing the Monkees' "I'm a believer."

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, who Klein ousted in 2006, just fired up the jam-packed crowd where the drinks are already flowing and the noisemakers are blaring.

"The fat lady hasn't sung yet. Can you hear her warming up? ... No one is announcing victory yet,'' said Shaw, shortly before 9 p.m. "But I can tell you right now -- a little historical perspective. In 2006 at this point I was behind, in 2008 Allen was behind. At this time tonight Allen is ahead."

-- Diana Moskovitz, Nirvi Shah and Amy Sherman

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