In a surprising turn of events, Rep. Allen West may soon be declared a casualty of the 2012 election season. What's no surprise is that the war veteran doesn't intend to go down without a fight.
West, a tea party favorite, currently trails opponent Patrick Murphy by about 2,500 votes. Provisional ballots are still being counted, but citing "disturbing irregularities," the Florida lawmaker is already demanding a recount.
He's not the only Congressional Black Caucus member slated to not return next year.
California Rep. Laura Richardson was defeated by fellow Democrat Rep. Janice Hahn. The House Ethics Committee reprimanded Richardson this year for improperly using her congressional staff to perform campaign duties and using taxpayer funded resources for personal and political activities and also fined her $10,000. Her loss was pretty much a done deal long before Election Day.
The good news is that voters didn't just taketh away. The CBC will welcome five new members in January.
Donald Payne Jr. will fill the seat his late father Rep. Donald M. Payne held for two decades before succumbing to colon cancer earlier this year. The New Jersey lawmaker is currently president of the Newark Municipal Council.
New York Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries will succeed the retiring Rep. Edolphus Towns. His priorities will be providing relief for distressed homeowners and boosting the economy.
Steven Horsford will be the first African American to represent Nevada in Congress. He was also the first African American to serve as majority leader of his state's Senate and the youngest person to ever hold the post. Last year, he successfully led a budget standoff with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, which resulted in more funding for education and other services.
Joyce Beatty, an educator and entrepreneur, will represent a newly drawn district in Ohio. A former member of the Ohio state House, she filled a seat previously held by her husband and became the chamber's first female Democratic leader.
Texas will welcome a fourth African American to its delegation. As a former congressional district aide, Marc Veasey will bring with him a working knowledge of Congress that many other newbies lack. Access to education is high on his agenda.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)