As Florida elections results were updated overnight, Democrat Patrick Murphy's lead over Republican Rep. Allen West widened and Murphy now appears to have defeated West by 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent -- a wide enough margin to avoid a recount.
Recounts are triggered by a margin within 0.5 percent.
We've updated our online story on South Florida congressional races to reflect the new results:
Another Republican incumbent, Rep. Allen West of Palm Beach Gardens, appeared to lose to Democrat Patrick Murphy by 2,456 votes in the early hours of Wednesday. Murphy got 50.4 percent of the vote to West’s 49.6 percent.
In District 18, there are still hundreds provisional ballots to be counted, but in those cases voters have to provide information to prove their ballots should be counted and it’s unlikely that all of them will, Eric Johnson, Murphy’s campaign consultant, said Wednesday morning. There are also absentee ballots remaining to be counted in Palm Beach.
The state elections website showed that the district which encompasses Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties gave a 2,456 voter edge to Murphy.
“There is no scenario where the 2,400 [edge that Murphy as] gets overturned,” he said. “Right now we are 700 votes outside the recount measure.”
The West campaign has not conceded, Johnson said. West’s campaign manager didn’t respond to emails Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Johnson said that he believes Murphy, 29, will become the youngest member of the next Congress but not the youngest in history.
Johnson attributed Murphy’s win to voters anger about attack ads.
“Patrick’s message over and over that we have to work together, not be divisive, the name calling has got to stop really sold with voters in the Treasure Coast,” Johnson said.
West was a Tea Party favorite and first-term member of Congress while Murphy is a 29-year-old businessman. In his first political race, Murphy tapped into Democrats’ nationwide distaste for West— a regular on Fox News who drew attention for saying several dozen of Democrats in the House are communists and calling U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) “vile.”
West raised about $17 million while Murphy raised more than $3.7 million in one of the most expensive House contests in the nation.
Murphy’s father gave $250,000 to a PAC that created an ad depicting a caricature of West, who is African-American, in boxing gloves punching an old white woman, a younger white woman and grabbing money from a black family. The ad was intended to depict West socking it to constituents over Medicare, health care and tax cuts.