Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has given up his fight to remain in Congress after two weeks of recount battles in court. The first-term Republican said in a statement he was conceding the race to Democrat Patrick Murphy, a 29-year-old political newcomer. (J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)
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Controversial conservative House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has conceded his Florida race to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy two weeks after Election Day.
His defeat means the Pentagon and U.S. defense companies will lose one of their biggest unconditional allies in the House. It is unclear who might replace him on the committee.
The latest vote count has Murphy leading West by about 2,100 votes, and West said Nov. 20 his legal advisers no longer see a path to his re-election.
"While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election," West said.
West came into office in 2010 by riding the wave that was the tea party movement, which led to a Republican romp in the midterm elections.
An Iraq war veteran and retired Army lieutenant colonel, West called for major cuts in government spending, which had some in Washington talking of big things for the Floridian. He quickly became one of Capitol Hill's most vocal critics of President Obama.
West once publicly urged Obama and congressional Democratic leaders to "get the hell out of the United States of America."
But West's fiery approach wore thin on too many voters in his district.
With West leaving Congress, House GOP leaders will lose an attack dog whose military experience allowed him to go hard after Obama's national security and foreign policies.
The West-Murphy race was one of the closest in the nation and among the most expensive.