Linda McSpadden demands that U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., stop his battle for his congressional seat, Florida's 18th District, outside the Palm Beach Circuit Court House in West Palm Beach, Fla. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Election Day has come and gone and West is still fighting for votes — in the courtroom. The freshman tea party-idol struggling for re-election in South Florida, found himself 2,456 votes behind Democratic rival Patrick Murphy in Tuesday's unofficial tally. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has denied Republican Rep. Allen West’s request to impound ballots and voting machines, dealing a blow to West’s re-election chances.

Circuit Judge David Crow on Friday said West’s request was “entirely premature.” The judge said vote-counting procedures are in place and being followed.

Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy holds a lead in the race for the South Florida seat. An unofficial tally puts him above the threshold for a recount.

The ruling was a defeat for West, but his side claimed victory anyway. An attorney for West says the campaign was simply trying to make sure the election is fair and transparent.

An attorney for Murphy called West’s legal actions a “political stunt.”

A full unofficial count of votes is due Saturday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.