Florida's US Senate race between Nelson, Scott may be headed toward recount

Posted at 10:25 AM, Nov 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-07 05:37:50-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The tight race between Florida Governor Rick Scott and longtime Senator Bill Nelson is headed toward a recount, Nelson's office announced Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson finally issued a full statement Wednesday after Florida Governor Rick Scott "prematurely claimed victory" Tuesday night.

"We are proceeding to a recount," Sen. Nelson said Wednesday morning, in a brief statement.

According to Nelson's press release, Scott's lead in the race is just 34,500 votes out of a total of 8.1 million ballots cast. That's less than one-half percentage point difference.

Under state law in Florida, a recount will be triggered if the winning candidate's margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.

"The next step in the process is for the 67 county supervisors of election to recheck the total tally, and for the Nelson campaign to contact voters whose ballots were not counted due to a lack of ID or a matching address, for instance," a press release read. "The deadline is noon Saturday, or perhaps longer under certain circumstances, to determine whether the recount proceeds under law."

Nelson's camp says it intends to have observers in all 67 counties watching for any irregularities, mistakes or unusual partisan activities.  

"For instance, prior to Election Day, Madison County Republican Supervisor of Election Thomas Hardee -- who initially was appointed to office by Scott -- was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times as saying he would 'eat his [Nelson's] lunch,'" the news release stated. 

Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott, issued the following statement:

"This race is over. It's a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists." 

State officials have also not commented on what will happen next. 

Florida's US Senate race is too close to call

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Latest on Election Day in Florida (all times local):

4:10 a.m.

The race for U.S. Senate in Florida between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott is too close to call.

Scott's lead in the Tuesday race is 38,717 votes out of more than 8 million cast - a margin of less than one half of 1 percent.

Under state law in Florida, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate's margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.

The Associated Press does not call any race that may proceed to a recount.

Scott earlier declared victory in the race. Nelson has not publicly conceded.


12:45 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is declaring victory in a hard-fought and expensive race for U.S. Senate.

Scott told supporters gathered in Naples that the election against incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson had been "divisive and tough" but he vowed to change the direction of Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press has not yet called the race.

Nelson did not publicly concede the race. Shortly after midnight, his chief of staff took the stage with about a dozen supporters still left and declared Scott the winner based on numerous news media reports. He said Nelson would make a statement later Wednesday and declined to take any questions.

The race for Senate pitted two heavyweights in Florida politics. Scott is a two-term governor who was urged to run by President Donald Trump.


Ahead of final poll results, Rick Scott gives victory speech

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Republican Rick Scott has declared victory in the U.S. Senate race against longtime incumbent Bill Nelson.

No other major media outlet has called the race in Scott's favor. 

ABC News reports that they are not projecting a winner in the Scott/Nelson race. With nearly all of the vote counted, they say there is less than a 1 percentage point difference between the two candidates.