The weeks-long electoral nightmare in the south is over. After last-minute ballot dumps, missed deadlines, and multiple recounts in both Florida and Georgia, we finally have winners. And it’s good news for Republicans.
Nelson finally conceded the race on Sunday afternoon after two separate recounts. And in Georgia, Abrams admitted she had no path to victory—but she didn’t “concede” and vowed to fight a rigged system, just not as governor.
—QUOTABLE: “We know, sometimes, the law does not do what it should and that something being legal does not make it right…This is someone who has compromised our systems. He’s compromised our democratic systems. And that is not appropriate.” -Abrams “concession” speech
MEANWHILE—Stacey Abrams refused to call Brian Kemp the “legitimate” governor of Georgia during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper. Tapper asked her multiple times if he’s legitimately elected. She answered by simply saying her Republican opponent has “an adequate number of votes” according to the law, but refused to use the word “legitimate.”
It looks like the winners will remain the winners in Florida’s gubernatorial and senate elections. While Democrat Andrew Gillum again conceded the race for the state’s governor to Republican Ron DeSantis after recount results changed little from election day, Rick Scott also remains ahead by 10,000 votes. Florida counties had until noon Sunday to file official results after a week-long machine and manual recount. Republican Scott’s apparent victory ends the long career of political survivor, Democrat Bill Nelson. At 76, Nelson has survived the state’s tilt to the right but now succumbs to Scott, the state’s outgoing governor.
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.
Florida Senate candidate Rick Scott made a renewed claim of victory over Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson on Sunday as a recount drama gripped the state. Scott’s campaign is challenging ballots counted by elections officials in Broward County—infamous for completely botching the 2000 election, as we all remember—after a Saturday deadline to complete the count. The Nelson camp fired back, claiming that despite the deadline, Scott is trying to stop voters from having their voices heard.
—SCOTT/NELSON WAR OF WORDS: “Bill Nelson’s a sore loser. We’ve won…I’ve had to win this election twice now. I will be going to Washington as the next U.S. senator from Florida, and I’m going to work hard to change the direction of this country like we did in Florida.” -Scott
—“If Rick Scott wanted to make sure every legal ballot is counted, he would not be suing to try and stop voters from having their legal ballot counted as intended.” -Nelson
MEANWHILE—Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is calling for Broward County’s top elections official, Brenda Snipes, to be removed from office. He actually appointed her while governor more than a decade ago, but now says that her incompetence and failing to follow Florida elections law “on multiple counts” disqualifies her. And this is not the first time Snipes has been caught bending and breaking the law. She should be removed as soon as the recount is complete, Bush tweeted.
While America suffers deja vu over Florida’s latest election meltdown, the media is rushing to blame right wing conspiracy theorists for ginning up fear and loathing. Republican Rick Scott defeated Sen. Bill Nelson at first, but a stash of new votes emerged after election night that pushed the tally toward Nelson in two Dem stronghold counties. But election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties refuse to answer even the most basic questions about the newly discovered ballots, fueling rampant speculation. Though the media dismisses Republicans’ concerns, two judges have already sided with Scott in lawsuits—and Broward county’s top election official has been busted for improperly destroying ballots in the past.
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
Sen. Bill Nelson is refusing to concede his race against Republican Rick Scott. The Florida Democrat lost by a thin margin Tuesday night—less than 50,000 votes out of 8 million counted. In a brief statement, Nelson pledged to proceed to a recount. Scott’s lead of 0.4 percent triggers an automatic recount, which happens any time the margin is less than half a percent.
—QUOTABLE: “This race is over. It’s a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career…He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists.” -Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline
Democrats rushed on Sunday to use the previous day’s synagogue massacre to push a narrative of gun control. In probably the least surprising turn of events since the sun rose this morning, Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted that President Trump “is complicit” because of his “inaction” with regard to gun violence. Sen. Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, called for “universal background checks,” and Florida Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson slammed “opponents of common sense gun safety.” Delaware Dem Sen. Chris Coons and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez also got the memo, calling for “reasonable gun safety” to stop “senseless deaths from gun violence.” That’s all despite no one having a clue yet how gunman Robert Bowers acquired his weapons. Trump on Saturday said an armed guard could’ve prevented the slaughter.
—“This would be a case for, if there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him. Maybe there would’ve been nobody killed except for [the gunman]… [but] this is a world with a lot of problems and it has been for many, many years.” -Trump