(PALM BEACH POST) STUART — Conservative firebrand and Tea Party hero U.S. Rep. Allen West, one of the highest profile Republicans in the nation, appeared headed for defeat early Wednesday in Congressional District 18. Democrat Patrick Murphy, a political newcomer, held a narrow lead over West in what was one of the most expensive and bitter Congressional campaigns in the nation.

Early Wednesday morning, Murphy held a .74 percent lead out of some 317,000 votes cast. Murphy campaign senior advisor Eric Johnson said only one precinct in the district was still uncounted. He also said that provisional ballots and some absentee ballots in Palm Beach County still had to be totalled, but he did not believe they would be enough to change the outcome. A result with a .5 percent difference or less would trigger a recount.

“But we’re outside the recount margin,” he said.

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