MIAMI – After nearly two weeks of wrangling over vote counts, Representative Allen B. West, the Republican firebrand who arrived in Congress in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support, conceded on Tuesday to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy.
Mr. Murphy, a 29-year-old political neophyte from South Florida, won the race by 1,904 ballots, or .58 percent of the vote from St. Lucie, Martin and North Palm Beach Counties.
"While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change," Mr. West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said in a statement Tuesday morning. "Given the extremely high evidentiary hurdles involved in a successful challenge, I will not ask my generous supporters to help fund a drawn-out, expensive legal effort with little chance of success."
The House race between the two men was one of the most expensive and bitter in the country. Through political advertisements, the candidates pilloried each other's reputations, with Mr. Murphy saying Mr. West was pushed out of the military and Mr. West portraying Mr. Murphy as an irresponsible party boy.
Mr. Murphy claimed victory the day after the election, when vote totals showed him squeaking out a victory. But, with such a narrow margin, Mr. West said there were irregularities in the vote count. He asked a judge to order a recount, not just the partial recount that St. Lucie County had undertaken. But the judge rejected his request.
Under pressure to sort out a winner, St. Lucie County election officials moved forward over the weekend with a full recount of all 37,379 early ballots. By Sunday afternoon, Mr. Murphy continued to hold his lead. He once again declared victory. Again, Mr. West said he would not concede, adding that he was considering his legal options.
But by Monday night, Mr. West said it was clear that there were not enough votes remaining to reverse Mr. Murphy's win.
Saying he is humbled by his win, Mr. Murphy called Mr. West's concession "gracious."
"To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice," Mr. Murphy said. "I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches."
Correction: November 20, 2012, Tuesday
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the military rank of Allen B. West. He a retired Army lieutenant colonel, not a colonel.nation
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.