Demo­crat Gil­lum con­cedes in Fla. gov­er­nor race

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE, Fla. — Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum ended his hard-fought cam­paign for Florida gov­er­nor on Sat­ur­day, just hours be­fore coun­ties must turn in their of­fi­cial re­sults fol­low­ing days of re­count­ing bal­lots.

Gil­lum, in a video that he posted on Face­book, con­grat­u­lated Repub­li­can Ron DeSan­tis but vowed to re­main po­lit­i­cally ac­tive although he gave no clues as his fu­ture plans. His term as Tal­la­has­see mayor ends next week.

“This has been the jour­ney of our lives,” said Gil­lum, who ap­peared in the video with his wife, R. Jai Gil­lum.

“Although no­body wanted to be gov­er­nor more than me, this was not just about an elec­tion cy­cle. This was about cre­at­ing the kind of change in this state that re­ally al­lows the voices of ev­ery­day peo­ple to show up again in our govern­ment.”

Gil­lum’s an­nounce­ment came as most Florida coun­ties were wind­ing down their hand re­count in the state’s con­tentious U.S. Sen­ate race.

The smat­ter­ing of re­sults pub­licly posted Sat­ur­day showed that Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nel­son was gain­ing only a few hun­dred votes in his bit­ter con­test with out­go­ing Gov. Rick Scott, a Repub­li­can.

State of­fi­cials or­dered a man­ual re­count ear­lier in the week af­ter a legally re­quired ma­chine re­count showed that Scott led Nel­son, the in­cum­bent, by 12,600 votes. More than 8 mil­lion vot­ers cast bal­lots in the race.

Florida’s high-pro­file race for gov­er­nor was close as well, but not enough to trig­ger a hand re­count.

Coun­ties have un­til noon Sun­day to file their of­fi­cial re­sults, but it ap­pears the gap is too far for Nel­son to close. Nel­son’s cam­paign has re­mained quiet as the fi­nal count has got­ten closer.

Nel­son and Democrats filed sev­eral law­suits fol­low­ing the close elec­tion, chal­leng­ing ev­ery­thing from the state’s sig­na­ture mis­match law to dead­lines for mail-in bal­lots.

The Nel­son cam­paign man­aged to se­cure only one vic­tory in court. U.S. Dis­trict Judge Mark Walker gave vot­ers un­til 5 p.m. Sat­ur­day to fix their bal­lots if they haven’t been counted be­cause of mis­matched sig­na­tures. Nearly 5,700 bal­lots were re­jected be­cause sig­na­tures on bal­lot en­velopes did not match sig­na­tures kept on file by elec­tion of­fi­cials.

But Walker re­jected ad­di­tional law­suits, in­clud­ing one that sought to change the rules used while in­spect­ing hand bal­lots.

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