Published November 20, 2012
Rep. Allen West on Tuesday conceded in his re-election effort in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, but suggested he will still be active in politics or public office.
The Tea Party favorite and first-term congressman made the statement Tuesday, following two weeks of court battles and ballot recounts in his race against Democratic challenger and political newcomer Patrick Murphy.
“Leaders don't need a title to be able to lead,” West told Fox News. “I will continue to be servant of this nation.”
The West campaign called for a recount after a wild swing in votes on election night in which West led by roughly 2,000 votes, then trailed by more than 1,500 about 35 minutes later.
State election officials said Murphy had won by enough votes to avoid an automatic recount, but St. Lucie County still allowed a recount of early ballots because some votes had been double counted.
The newly redrawn district also includes Martin and Palm Beach counties.
West leaves Washington as one of the best-known figures of the Tea Party wave elected to Congress in 2010. He made national headlines with fiery speeches and off-the-cuff comments that roused people of all political persuasions.
He said his campaign concluded after doing an analysis of the partial recount that he still wouldn’t have enough votes to win a second term.
“Right now, God knows the plan for my life,” West told Fox. “The most important thing is to enjoy Thanksgiving. My concerns right now are to be with family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.