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Allen West challenger declares victory; more bad news for Mack family

Patrick Murphy declared a razor-thin victory in his closely watched congressional race Wednesday, but incumbent Rep. Allen West refused to concede as his campaign cited "disturbing irregularities" at the polls.

The freshman Republican's hopes appeared to be dimming as Murphy clung to a 2,456-vote lead in the unofficial count, holding 50.4 percent of the vote.

All precincts had reported their tallies but West held out hope for a surge of support from provisional and other outstanding ballots. That looked increasingly unlikely.

Appearing on stage before a buoyant crowd Wednesday, Murphy seized on the projections of several news organizations and called himself the victor in a long and often vicious campaign.

"I think we won because the voters spoke, they are tired of the extremism and the divisiveness, and they want someone willing to put the country first," Murphy said, according to Treasure Coast Newspapers. "That's what we represent."

West showed no signs of backing down. He did not appear at his Election Night party, but his campaign manager, Tim Edson, issued a statement urging patience.

"This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome," Edson said. "Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance."

Bad night for Macks

Rep. Connie Mack IV, who was easily dispatched last night by Sen. Bill Nelson, got another kick in the pants Wednesday.

It appears his wife, California Rep. Mary Bono Mack, lost her re-election battle to Raul Ruiz, a Democratic emergency room doctor.

With all precincts reporting, Ruiz was holding a nearly 4,600-vote advantage.

Bono Mack has served in Congress since 1998, when she replaced her former husband Sonny Bono, who died in a skiing accident.

She married Mack in 2007.

The two Republicans are now looking for work.

David Rivera also out

Freshman Florida Rep. David Rivera, whose tenure was marked by a series of scandals and who remains the target of two federal investigations, was booted out of office Tuesday.

Rivera, a Republican, lost to Democrat Joe Garcia, who handily picked up the Kendall-to-Key West seat for his party on a night when the GOP kept control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was Rivera's first-ever loss at the polls in a political career going back a decade.

With all the precincts reporting, Garcia got nearly 54 percent of the vote to Rivera's 42.9 percent.

"Thank you, South Florida!" Garcia, 49, told more than 100 supporters who were packed into Casa Vieja, a Colombian restaurant in West Kendall. "Today, our community has spoken. It has decided to turn a new page, move in a new direction."

Allen West challenger declares victory; more bad news for Mack family 11/07/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 11:07am]
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