The Florida secretary of state ordered recounts in the
US Senate and governor races on Saturday.
Unofficial results in both races fell within the margin
that triggers a recount by law.
The unofficial results show Republican former Rep. Ron
DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by less
than 0.5 percentage points.
In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead
over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25
percentage points, which will require a hand recount of ballots
from tabulation machines that couldn’t determine which
candidate got the vote.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida secretary of state ordered
recounts in the US Senate and governor races on Saturday, an
unprecedented review of two major races in the state that took
five weeks to decide the 2000 presidential election.
Secretary Ken Detzner issued the order after the unofficial
results in both races fell within the margin that by law triggers
a recount. His office was unaware of any other time either a
governor race or US Senate race required a recount, let alone
both in the same election.
The unofficial results show that Republican former Rep. Ron
DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less
than 0.5 percentage points, which will require a machine recount
In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over
Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage
points, which will require a hand recount of ballots from
tabulation machines that couldn’t determine which candidate got
Saturday’s development’s return Florida to the center of a major
political drama 18 years after an infamous presidential recount
left control of the White House undecided for more than a month.
The latest recount underscores the deep divides plaguing one of
the most critical states in American politics. Beyond determining
the governorship, it will decide whether Nelson returns to
Washington for a fourth term or whether Republicans will pad
their majority in the Senate.
Florida’s 67 counties will decide when to begin the recounts.
They could start the moment Detzner issued his order, or
elections officials can wait until Sunday or Monday. But they
must finish the machine recounts by 3 p.m. Thursday. Hand
recounts will be reflected in official election results due Nov.
Gillum conceded to DeSantis on Tuesday night, but when the
results began to narrow, he said that every vote should count and
he’s not expected to block a recount. DeSantis has said little
about the recount and is instead proceeding as if he won the
election, appointing a transition team and preparing to take
office in January.
Hours after the recount was announced, Gillum withdrew his
“I am replacing my words of concession with an
uncompromised and unapologetic call we count every single vote,”
Gillum wrote on Twitter Saturday
The battle for Nelson’s Senate seat has been much more heated,
with both sides filing lawsuits. Scott has said Nelson is trying
to steal the election, while Nelson is accusing Scott of trying
to stop elections officials from counting every ballot.
President Donald Trump has also weighed in on Florida’s close
Trump took Scott’s side on Friday, telling reporters that the
federal government could get involved and adding: “all of the
sudden they are finding votes out of nowhere.”
“What’s going on in Florida is a disgrace,” he said.
The scene was reminiscent of the 2000 presidential recount, when
it took more than five weeks for Florida to declare George W.
Bush the victor over Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes, and
thus giving Bush the presidency.
Florida was mocked for the way it handled the infamous 2000
recount, especially since there was no uniform process then on
how to proceed. That has changed, with the Legislature passing a
clear procedure on how a recount should be conducted.
Florida is also conducting a hand recount in a third statewide
race. Democrat Nikki Fried had a razor-thin lead over Republican
state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture
commissioner, one of Florida’s three Cabinet seats.