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Allen West, Controversial Tea Party Firebrand, Concedes In Florida House Race

After two weeks, legal challenges and plenty of barbs with his opponent, Rep. Allen West, the Republican Tea Party firebrand, conceded defeat this morning.

"For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly. We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process. 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 in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times.

West's Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, declared victory the day after the election. The final vote tally put him ahead of West by 0.58 percent or about 1,900 votes.

The New York Times reports this is a race with big national significance. For one, it will go down in history as "one of the most expensive and bitter in the country." Also, West, 51, quickly became one of the most popular, outspoken and controversial members of Congress elected during the 2010 wave of conservatives who came into the House.

The Washington Post adds:

"Murphy, 29, portrayed West as an extremist who had done little else in Washington than stoke partisan fires.

"In his concession statement, West offered congratulations to Murphy, saying 'I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.'"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.