Despite a declaration of victory from Rep. Allen West's Democratic challenger, the bitter and expensive race for Florida's 18th congressional district remained unsettled on Saturday.
The state released new unofficial vote totals on Saturday following the noon reporting deadline. Those preliminary numbers showed Democrat Patrick Murphy, who is vice president of an environmental cleanup firm, with an edge of about 2,400 votes among 331,000 ballots cast.
Results of the race will be officially certified on Nov. 20. Although Murphy has declared victory, West has not conceded.
West, a first-term Republican congressman and retired Army lieutenant colonel, and Patrick were locked in one of the country's most expensive races for a U.S. House seat, according to a ranking prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics. West raised $17 million through mid-October and Murphy brought in $3.7 million, according for Federal Election Commission records.
That money has been used, in part, to exchange messy blows in television ads.
Following the updated unofficial vote counts, Murphy declared victory.
"It is now time to put the campaign behind us," he said in a statement. "I am honored that the voters of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches have chosen me to be their voice in Congress. Regardless of whether they voted for me or my opponent, I am committed to representing the interests of all residents of Florida's 18th Congressional District in Washington."
West's campaign manager responded that the race remains undecided and accused an elections supervisor of "hostility and dangerous incompetence."
"Given the dramatic vote shift late in the night on election night in St. Lucie County, we are still waiting on the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections to make available the voter check-in books to ensure they match the number of votes cast," campaign manager Tim Edson said in a statement.
"There is no rush," he said. "Ensuring an accurate outcome is our only focus."
West has drawn attention for a series of controversial comments, including his allegation that several members of Congress are members of the Communist Party, his terming of fellow Floridian Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as "vile," and a charge that a Muslim member of Congress represents "the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."