Recounts ordered for major races, including Florida governor, U.S. Senate

Gillum retracts concession speech, calls for every vote to be counted

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Roy Ramos - Reporter, Associated Press

LAUDERHILL, Fla. - Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has ordered recounts in the races for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner.

Detzner's office said the recounts should be completed by 3 p.m. Thursday.

Florida law requires a machine recount when the leading candidate’s margin is 0.5 percentage points or less and a hand recount if it’s 0.25 percent or less.

  • As of Saturday afternoon, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis had a slight lead against his Democratic rival, Andrew Gillum, of 33,684 votes, a margin of 0.41 percentage points.
  • In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott was ahead of Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes, a margin of 0.15 percentage points.
  • In the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Democrat Nikki Fried was leading Republican rival Matt Caldwell by 5,326 votes, a margin of 0.06 percentage points.

All three races will undergo machine recounts and will advance to hand recounts if the margin remains at 0.25 percent or less. The hand recounts, if ordered, are expected to be completed by Nov. 18.

In Miami-Dade County, more than 800,000 votes need to be recounted by the 3 p.m. deadline Thursday.

To meet that deadline, Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White said she is planning 24-hour shifts for a machine recount. Because Miami-Dade County has the largest population in the state, the county has ordered high-speed ballot county machines from Omaha to add to the eight machines the county already owns.

White said the machines are crucial to meet the deadline and have the new results ready to be tallied by the state.

While the new machines plan to arrive Monday, Local 10 News is told the recount started at 5:50 p.m. Saturday.

Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, conceded the governor's race on Tuesday night, but on Saturday, he urged the recount to move forward.

"I am replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote. And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change," Gillum said.

Andrew Gillum urged the recount to move forward Saturday.

In a video released by the Florida Republican Party, DeSantis called the election results "clear and unambiguous" despite the recount.

"With the election behind us, it’s now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians," DeSantis said.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned for both Scott and DeSantis, weighed in on the races shortly after the recounts were announced.

"Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!" Trump said on Twitter.

Scott called on Nelson to decline the recount.

"It’s time for Sen. Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount," Scott said.

In a statement, Nelson pointed out that Scott's margin of victory has dwindled since election night and said the recount should continue.

"We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election," Nelson said.

Scott has said "unethical liberals" were trying to steal the election in the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The governor filed lawsuits in both counties seeking more information on how their ballots were being tallied.

Scores of protesters gathered outside the offices of the Broward County supervisor of elections in Lauderhill on Saturday as officials there counted the final votes ahead of a noon deadline.

Scott’s lawyer, Bill Scherer, criticized the process in Broward and insisted that the campaign has evidence of voter fraud.

The Miami Herald reported Saturday that state monitors assigned to observe elections in Broward County have "seen no evidence of criminal activity at this time."

Officials in Broward pushed back against allegations of fraud at a tense news conference after the tally was completed.

"There have been allegation of fraud. Those are serious charges to recklessly offer out there. To give a claim of fraud without any evidence, I think it is unacceptable," said Eugene Pettis, a lawyer for Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

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