MIAMI (Reuters) – With almost all ballots in Florida counted, US media yesterday projected President Barack Obama the winner in that state four days after he won Tuesday’s national election.
Florida brings his total of electoral votes to 332 compared to 206 for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Florida was the last state where the outcome was in doubt because three counties were still counting ballots.
Obama had 50.01 per cent of the vote in Florida compared to 49.13 per cent for Romney, with nearly all ballots counted, according to figures from the Florida Secretary of State’s Office. The president’s lead stood at nearly 74,000 votes.
CNN projected that Obama would win Florida. NBC and the Associat-ed Press also were among the media outlets that called the state for Obama based on the latest tally.
The Democratic party in Florida had declared victory on Thursday and Republicans tacitly conceded defeat.
With the victory in Florida, Obama swept all of the battleground states, with the exception of North Carolina, which he won narrowly in 2008.
Also in Florida, Tea Party-backed US Representative Allen West, the firebrand Republican lawmaker known for his blistering attacks on Obama and other Democrats, lost his re-election bid, according to the state’s latest vote tally yesterday.
West, a 51-year-old former Army officer, has not conceded defeat to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy. West said there were voting irregularities and has called for a partial recount.
The complete but unofficial vote count showed Murphy, a 29-year-old political newcomer, defeated West by 2,442 votes. Murphy had 50.36 per cent of the vote compared to West’s 49.62 per cent, meaning he was outside the 0.5 per cent margin that would trigger an automatic recount under Florida rules.
A West campaign spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday.
On Friday, a Palm Beach County judge rejected a request by West to impound voting machines and ballots.
West, one of two African-American Republicans in the House, had amassed one of the biggest campaign war chests among House Republicans. The highly contentious race was one of the most expensive House races in the country.
Florida was the scene of an historic fight over ballot counting after the 2000 presidential election, when the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that George W Bush should be awarded the state’s electoral votes and the presidency.
The delay in finalizing Florida’s result this year did not affect the national outcome but raised concerns that some of the problems in 2000 had not been resolved 12 years later.