Recounts ordered in Senate, governor races
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida secretary of state ordered recounts in the U.S. Senate and governor races on Saturday, an unprecedented review of two major contests 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 race for governor or U.S. Senate in Florida required a recount, let alone both in the same election.
The recount sets up what could be several days of political tension in this deeply divided state. President Donald Trump tweeted without evidence that the elections were being stolen. Protesters gathered at an elections office in Broward County, which is quickly becoming a battleground in the recount. The protesters waved signs, used bullhorns and even harangued a food delivery person at one point, asking if there were ballots inside the food bags.
The unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points in the election for governor.
In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is 0.14 percentage points.
Detzner ordered machine recounts in both races. Once completed, if the differences in the races are at 0.25 percentage points or below, a hand recount will be ordered, said Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell.
Following the announcement, Gillum withdrew his concession in the governor’s race.
“Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” he said, adding that he would accept whatever outcome emerges.
In a video released Saturday afternoon, DeSantis thanked the state’s supervisors of elections, canvassing boards, and the staffs for “working hard to ensure that all lawful votes are counted. He said he is preparing to become the state’s next governor.
“It is important that everyone involved in the election process strictly adhere to the rule of law which is the foundation for our nation,” he said, adding that the election results were “clear and unambiguous.”
In a statement, Scott implored the state’s sheriffs to “watch for any violations and take appropriate action” during the recount.