Republican Rep. Allen West (FL), the bomb-throwing tea party darling elected during the 2010 tea party wave, was projected as defeated in a close race by Democrat Patrick Murphy.
NBC News projected the race for Murphy. With 99 percent of the vote in, he was up by some 1,500 votes.
The Floridian freshman quickly gained a national profile with his scorched-earth rhetoric against President Obama and his initiatives. He rankled many earlier this year when he claimed that dozens of congressional Democrats were closet communists — comments he repeatedly stood by.
West was a prime target for Democrats this cycle. He opted to run for a different House seat this cycle after his district was redrawn to include a larger fraction of Democrats. Despite his best efforts to soften his image, he was an imperfect fit for the evenly divided district.
And Democrats were gleeful about Murphy’s victory.
“We congratulate Congressman-elect Patrick Murphy on defeating Tea Party crony Allen West,” said Florida Democratic Party chair Rod Smith. “Murphy is a rising star in the party and will be a strong voice for the people of Florida in the United States Congress. Tonight, the people of this district rejected divisive, hateful rhetoric in favor a fresh-faced, bipartisan approach centered around the issues important to Florida’s middle class families.”
The race was hard-fought, with brutal attack ads from both candidates bankrolled in part by outside groups, who made their mark on the race.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.