Democrats Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum continue to hold out hope that a recount will erase their vote deficits over Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis. As the recount occurs between now and the Thursday at 3:00 PM EST deadline, the political gamesmanship continues.
Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign asked Sen. Bill Nelson to concede the election. That’s after unofficial vote counts from all 67 counties show Scott leading Nelson by 12,562 votes.
“The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory. The margin of victory is larger than any recount since 2000 has ever closed, with the average recount changing the outcome by just a few hundred votes. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount,” said Chris Hartline, Scott campaign spokesman.
While the Scott campaign knew that request would be ignored, the Nelson campaign confirmed only a few minutes later that the three term Senator is in the race for the long term.
“This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy,” said Sen. Nelson. “Since Tuesday, the gap has shrunk from roughly 60,000 votes to about 12,500 – the margin has reduced by 78 percent and is now roughly .15 percent. We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election”
Nelson’s best chances of closing the gap come in Broward County where about 25,000 residents apparently voted in the Governor’s race, but not the Senate race. Those undervotes could be a product of a flawed ballot design. The Senate race was located at the bottom of the first column of the ballot beneath voting instructions. Or it could be a case of the tabulation machine not correctly registering votes. The machine recount could resolve that issue. If not, a likely hand recount would certainly end speculation.
In the governor’s race, Andrew Gillum has rescinded his Tuesday night concession with hopes of erasing a 33,684 vote deficit. During a Saturday news conference, Gillum said he was withdrawing his concession because “more information has come in.”
On election night Gillum trailed DeSantis by 78,000 votes. With all votes counted, and the ballots simply being recounted, the likelihood is that DeSantis remains the Governor-elect.
DeSantis is acting like he’ll assume the governor’s office in January. He released a statement to Floridians Saturday acknowledging the outcome of the unofficial vote tally. “Those results are clear and unambiguous, just as they were on Election Night, and I am honored by the trust that Floridians have placed in me to serve as your next governor,” said DeSantis. The former congressman also says he’s continuing the transition to assuming the governorship in January.
Image remains everything. It’s clear DeSantis is plowing ahead with his transition and acting gubernatorial, while Gillum fights to stay relevant during the recount period.