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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Romney Aide Says Campaign Lost Florida

Despite the never-ending counting of ballots in Florida, Mitt Romney‘s campaign on Thursday recognized that President Obama is on his way to victory there. With only ballots from Democratic-leaning counties left to be counted, the final tally was not expected to change the outcome, Republican acknowledged.

“We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win,” Brett Doster, a Florida adviser for Mitt Romney, told The Miami Herald in a statement. “Obviously we didn't, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won't happen again.”

By Thursday afternoon, the state Division of Elections Web site said Mr. Obama led Mr. Romney 49.9 percent to 49.2 percent, with a difference of about 55,000 votes out of more than eight  million votes cast. Several counties continued to count absentee ballots throughout the day. An official dec laration is expected on Friday, and an Obama victory would give him 332 electoral votes to Mr. Romney's 206.

President Obama is not the only Democrat waiting to be certified the winner in Florida. Patrick Murphy, who ran a tough, bitter race against Representative Allen B. West, appears to have won the vote count in a district that slices through Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. If Mr. Murphy prevails, it would be a significant victory for the Democratic Party, which targeted Mr. West for defeat.

But Mr. West, the bombastic Republican who won in 2010 with Tea Party support and is a prolific fund-raiser, is demanding a recount in Palm Beach County. His campaign was scheduled to go to court Friday.

Mr. Murphy was ahead by 2,456 votes, not enough to trigger an automatic recount in the county. Military and provisional ballots were still being counted.

“I've been in combat so this is not a stressful situation for me,” Mr. West, a former Army officer, told Fox News Radio. “We want to make sure that there's a fair and open electoral process. There are some violations of Florida state law and I think it's important that be brought to the attention of the constituents.”

Expecting a drawn-out legal battle, Mr. Murphy's campaign sent an e-mail Thursday asking for donations. “We would not be asking for more funds if it was not so urgent,” it said.