Fla., Ga. races still have no clear win­ner

Re­counts may loom in con­tests for gov­er­nor, U.S. Se­nate race in Fla.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - NATION & WORLD -

Three high-pro­file races in the South still don’t have clear vic­tors, days af­ter Tues­day’s midterm elec­tions. Gov­er­nor’s races in Ge­or­gia and Florida and a

U.S. Se­nate race in Florida on Fri­day were all near or below the thresh­olds to trig­ger re­counts.

Florida gov­er­nor: De­spite one of the can­di­dates con­ced­ing on elec­tion night, the Florida gov­er­nor’s race tight­ened into a mar­gin that could re­quire a re­count.

For­mer Re­pub­li­can U.S. Rep. Ron DeSan­tis led by 0.47 per­cent­age point, a mar­gin that would re­quire a re­count un­der Florida law. A re­count is manda­tory if the win­ning can­di­date’s mar­gin is less than 0.5 per­cent­age point when the first un­of­fi­cial count is ver­i­fied Satur­day by Florida’s sec­re­tary of state.

Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum, the mayor of Tal­la­has­see, trailed by about 1 per­cent­age point and fewer than 80,000 votes when he con­ceded Tues­day. As the vote gap nar­rowed, Gil­lum said he wanted to see ev­ery vote counted, in­di­cat­ing he would not stand in the way of a re­count.

DeSan­tis has mostly stayed out of the fray, say­ing he was work­ing on plans for tak­ing of­fice in Jan­uary.

U.S. Se­nate in Florida: The ra­zor-thin Se­nate race erupted into out­right par­ti­san war­fare Fri­day as Democrats pressed for a re­count and Repub­li­cans — in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — ac­cused lo­cal elec­tion of­fi­cials of tilt­ing the out­come against them.

Re­pub­li­can Gov. Rick Scott held a ra­zor-thin lead over in­cum­bent Demo­cratic Sen. Bill Nel­son.

On Fri­day, Scott led by 0.21 per­cent­age point, low enough to re­quire a hand re­count un­der state law. Florida’s sec­re­tary of state will ver­ify the first un­of­fi­cial count Satur­day.

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

Nel­son filed his own fed­eral law­suit Fri­day, seek­ing to post­pone the Satur­day dead­line to sub­mit un­of­fi­cial elec­tion re­sults.

A judge on Fri­day sided with Scott and or­dered Broward County’s elec­tion su­per­vi­sor to re­lease the voter in­for­ma­tion sought by the gov­er­nor.

Repub­li­cans of­fered no ev­i­dence that fraud was to blame for a di­min­ish­ing lead in heav­ily

Demo­cratic Broward County in South Florida, where the stil­lun­fin­ished count­ing of ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots nar­rowed Scott’s statewide lead.

The mar­gin was ex­pected to trig­ger a re­count of bal­lots, which could be­gin as early as Satur­day in coun­ties across the state. But it has also prompted an uproar from Repub­li­cans.

In ad­di­tion, pro­test­ers took to the side­walks out­side the county’s elec­tion of­fices in Lauder­hill to de­mand the ouster of Brenda Snipes, the su­per­vi­sor of elec­tions in Broward, who has faced a string of ac­cu­sa­tions over the last decade over mis­man­aged elec­tions.

“It’s a mob scene,” said Wil­liam Scherer, a Re­pub­li­can at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Scott and who worked for Ge­orge W. Bush in the re­count dur­ing the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. “This is like déjà vu all over again.”

Both cam­paigns filed law­suits Thurs­day. Scott ac­cused Broward and Palm Beach county elec­tion of­fi­cials of fraud, but of­fered no ev­i­dence be­yond pro­ce­dural er­rors and Scott’s dwin­dling vote mar­gin.

Ge­or­gia gov­er­nor: Trump on Fri­day threw fresh sup­port be­hind Ge­or­gia Re­pub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Brian Kemp, whose too-close-to-call race with Demo­crat Stacey Abrams de­volved into chaos amid re­ports of vot­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and miss­ing or un­counted bal­lots.

With elec­tion of­fi­cials still tal­ly­ing votes, Trump de­clared Kemp the win­ner and called for the gu­ber­na­to­rial tran­si­tion to be­gin.

Kemp “ran a great race in Ge­or­gia — he won,” the pres­i­dent wrote on Twit­ter. “It is time to move on!”

Trump en­dorsed Kemp’s gen­eral elec­tion bid in Oc­to­ber, call­ing Abrams “to­tally un­qual­i­fied” and say­ing she would “de­stroy a great state.”

Kemp first de­clared vic­tory over Abrams on Wed­nes­day night, as a flurry of re­ports de­scribed lengthy vot­ing lines, miss­ing or in­op­er­a­ble equip­ment, and a dearth of pro­vi­sional bal­lots in key precincts dur­ing the pre­vi­ous day’s elec­tion.

The As­so­ci­ated Press still has not called the race, and Abrams, vow­ing to fight un­til ev­ery bal­lot is pro­cessed, has not con­ceded.

Kemp led Abrams by about 63,000 votes Fri­day, hold­ing 50.3 per­cent to Abrams’s 48.7 per­cent. His lead had nar­rowed as more votes were counted.

If nei­ther can­di­date wins 50 per­cent by the time all votes are counted, the race will ad­vance to a runoff.

Kemp’s role as Ge­or­gia sec­re­tary of state be­fore and dur­ing the elec­tion has come un­der scru­tiny, as vot­ing rights ad­vo­cates ac­cused him of us­ing his po­si­tion to in­flu­ence the gu­ber­na­to­rial race. Kemp has de­nied al­le­ga­tions of im­pro­pri­ety and re­signed from his post mid­day Thurs­day.

Abrams cam­paign man­ager Lau­ren Groh-Wargo an­nounced a pre­lim­i­nary le­gal vic­tory, say­ing that a judge had is­sued a stay in the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of re­sults in Dougherty County fol­low­ing a law­suit by the cam­paign. The county was hard hit by Hur­ri­cane Michael, prompt­ing re­ports of of­fices be­ing closed and ab­sen­tee bal­lots be­ing sent late.

At a news con­fer­ence in At­lanta, Groh-Wargo said the cam­paign’s voter pro­tec­tion hot­line had re­ceived thou­sands of calls attest­ing to vot­ing prob­lems that dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected peo­ple of color, stu­dents and regis­tered Democrats.

“Voter sup­pres­sion looks a lot of dif­fer­ent ways,” she said, ac­cus­ing Kemp of “Old South tac­tics.”

Kemp on Thurs­day de­fended his han­dling of the elec­tion.

“The in­tegrity of the process has been clear in Ge­or­gia,” he said af­ter an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion. “The elec­tion in­tegrity is be­yond doubt.”

Abrams is run­ning to be the coun­try’s first fe­male black gov­er­nor in a con­test that was char­ac­ter­ized by ugly racial over­tones.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Re­sults were too close to call Fri­day in Ge­or­gia’s gov­er­nor’s race pit­ting Demo­crat Stacey Abrams against Re­pub­li­can Brian Kemp.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.