Republicans Maintain Lead As Florida Recount Drags On

Rick Scott’s lead in the Florida Senate race increased Thursday after a machine recount. The Republican, the state’s outgoing governor, increased his lead by 1,000 votes and called on state elections officials to declare him the winner. This was the first round of recounting—a hand recount is coming next because the margin remains within the 0.25 percent margin that triggers an automatic manual recount.

MEANWHILE—Republican candidate for Florida governor Ron DeSantis maintained a slightly more comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum. Since the margin between the two stood at 0.41 percent prior to the machine recount, no manual recount is expected in that race.

AND—A judge on Thursday ruled against Republican Rick Scott’s contention that some 4,000 ballots should be tossed because of signature mismatches. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker gave voters until 5 p.m. Saturday to verify their ballots, a ruling that still wasn’t good enough for Democrat Bill Nelson’s campaign, which had asked the judge to throw out the entire signature matching law.

Deja Vu: Suspicious Florida Ballot Shenanigans Could Flip Outcome

Andrew Gillum as of late Thursday was considering retracting his concession. The Democrat on Tuesday conceded his one-point loss in his race for Florida governor to Republican Ron DeSantis. But the margin has dwindled in the hours since as absentee and provisional ballots continued to be counted…slowly. 

—QUOTABLE: “On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported.” -Gillum campaign spokeswoman Johanna Cervone

MEANWHILE—Florida’s race for U.S. Senate is even closer. Republican Rick Scott has declared victory over Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, but thanks to a slow and unusual trickle of last-minute ballots being counted and announced out of two of the state’s Dem strongholds, the gap is closing in on automatic recount territory. Sen. Marco Rubio called attention to the very suspicious activity in Broward and Palm Beach Counties on Thursday.

—QUOTABLE: “#Broward election supervisors ongoing violation of #Florida law requiring timely reporting isn’t just annoying incompetence. It has opened the door for lawyers to come here & try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate & Florida Cabinet.” Rubio tweet

Diddy Rallies For Florida’s Gillum

Diddy is rallying for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. Sean “Diddy” Combs held a rally on Monday for the Democrat candidate and current Tallahassee mayor and was joined by Tiffany Haddish, DJ Khaled, Will Packer, and someone called Monica at the Florida A&M University event. Diddy said Gillum would be the first black governor of the Sunshine State, but he wasn’t endorsing him because of that—he also says Gillum is the “best man for the job.” Gillum, who has run into ethics troubles after FBI probes into corruption in Tallahassee city government, is in a tight race with Republican Ron DeSantis, but has been leading most of the polls.

—QUOTABLE: “He’s running a campaign for the people…I’ve spoken to him at length. I believe in him — his focus, his ideas, what he stands for.” -Diddy

Florida Dem Demands Opponent Show Respect

Florida candidate for governor Andrew Gillum demands a certain level of respect. Speaking to supporters at a Florida university, the Democrat candidate for the state’s top office recounted the first time he met Republican challenger Ron DeSantis. “[A]ll of a sudden, without invitation, he was calling me only as Andrew.” Gillum believes that because he’s currently mayor of Tallahassee and DeSantis earlier resigned his post as U.S. Representative, that DeSantis was out of line by calling him by his first name. The comment comes on the heels of his campaign accusing DeSantis of being a racist on multiple occasions. Gillum holds a 4.5 percentage point lead over DeSantis.

—“I met [DeSantis] for the first time the other night, and then all of a sudden, without invitation, he was calling me only as Andrew. Between the two of us, he quit his job in Congress — I’m a sitting mayor, and he had the nerve to address me only as Andrew?” -Gillum

Florida Gov Candidate Lied About Bribe

The Democrat candidate for Florida governor has been caught in corruption and lying. Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, lied on numerous occasions when he claimed he did not know who bought tickets to a Broadway show that were given to him by an FBI agent posing as a land developer. That’s bribery. And according to hundreds of pages of communications including text messages, Gillum did in fact know who bought the tickets and lied about it to authorities. The FBI conducted the sting as part of a probe into corruption in Tallahassee city government. This won’t help Gillum’s chances of defeating Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis for the governor’s mansion—the RealClearPoltitics average has him down 6.7 percent.