With all of the many fascinating races this year, it's tough to highlight individual U.S. House races, even those featuring the most unique characters.
But Florida's Allen West is a special case, not just because his re-election bid was one of the most expensive House races of 2012, but because he's a special kind of congressman.
Conservative firebrand Rep. Allen B. West (R-Fla.) appears to have lost his reelection bid, with final vote totals in the state's new 18th Congressional District showing him trailing by more than 2,000 votes.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Patrick Murphy leads West by 2,442 votes -- 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. That is outside the margin (0.5 percent) for a computer recount.
West, of course, is the one-term Republican, who believes everyone who disagrees with him is (a) a communist; (b) a supporter of slavery; or (c) quite possibly a communistic supporter of slavery. Despite only two years on Capitol Hill, West has positioned himself as a uniquely hinged figure in Republican politics.
But as of today, he's also poised to be a former member of Congress. West believes some votes in St. Lucie County were counted twice, wants access to precinct sign-in books, and is prepared to sue to get additional information. The Republican, not surprisingly, refuses to concede.
Democrat Patrick Murphy, meanwhile, has declared victory, and is working under the assumption that he's a representative-elect who'll take office in January.