Democrat Gillum concedes in Fla. governor race
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.