Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has never been afraid to make news.
So it’s only fitting that his re-election campaign was the biggest remaining story line of the 2012 election last week.
West conceded defeat Tuesday after a drawn-out legal battle did not yield the results his campaign was hoping for.
The freshman congressman and tea party favorite trailed by less than 1 percent of the vote once the race was certified, apparently handing victory to his opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, 29.
But West wasn’t going quietly. Although his losing margin was outside the threshold for an automatic recount, his campaign and legal team pointed to irregularities in the counting of early votes in St. Lucie County and persuaded the county to recount the votes.
The result? West’s deficit expanded slightly, to more than 2,000 votes. His campaign quickly succumbed to the fact that it had lost, and West issued his concession statement.
West’s re-election campaign was tough from the start.
He had managed to win a Democratic-leaning West Palm Beach district in the GOP wave of 2010. When redistricting shuffled the state’s map, he drew the short straw, having to choose between running in a Democratic-leaning district and a swing district to which he had little connection. He chose the latter.
During the campaign, West raised more money than any other vulnerable House candidate in the country -- more than $17 million as of mid-October. He also suggested that a significant swath of the House Democratic caucus is composed of closeted Communists, and ran a TV ad featuring a mug shot of a Murphy underage drinking arrest, contrasting it with his own military service.
Alas, it wasn’t enough. West joined his fellow tea party firebrand, Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., in defeat.
We’re sure West will land just fine (Fox News Channel, anyone?). But for now, it’s gotta sting.
Allen West, for winning the legal battle only to lose the electoral war, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Blake is a frequent contributor to The Fix, a politics blog for the Washington Post.