Election officials, campaign staffers and many others in Florida are preparing for huge recounts in the state following close races in the Senate and Governorship, it was announced Thursday.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott led Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by approximately 30,000 votes out of more than 8.1 million ballots cast in the state’s Senate race as of Wednesday night. This translates to a margin of less than 0.5 percent, and Florida law dictates that a recount is automatically mandatory if the margin falls below that figure. The Orlando Sentinel reported that as of Thursday evening, Scott led Nelson by around 15,000 votes, or 0.18%.
Meanwhile, the gubernatorial race between Tallahassee Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum and Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis — a hardline conservative backed by and often compared to President Donald Trump — also appears to likely be headed for a recount after the Sentinel reported Gillum trailed DeSantis by approximately 36,000 votes (0.44 %) as of Thursday evening.
Several reports have noted that one particular county is causing problems in the vote tally in Florida: Broward County, the state’s second-largest county and one of its most liberal. According to Politico, Broward County is behind almost every other county in Florida in its total vote count report.
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Should DeSantis and Scott win, the victories could likely give the GOP a huge confident boost for winning Florida in the 2020 presidential election. Trump won the state by 1.2%, or just over 100,000 votes, in 2016.
Florida also famously held a recount after the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. After a Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore, the Florida recount that year was ultimately settled in Bush’s favor by a margin of 537 votes.
On Friday morning, Trump slammed Florida’s vote-tallying system, accusing it of being marked by “a lot of dishonesty.” He also said the state’s election officials are “finding votes out of nowhere,” and also made similar claims about Arizona.
Joe Scarborough, the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, criticized Trump, Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio and other Florida Republican politicians for dismissing the need for a recount as a conspiracy theory. Scarborough said he believes their accusations are straight out of a developing nation.
“You actually have Republicans, Marco Rubio and the fevered swamp of conspiracy theories,” said Scarborough. “You talk about Trumpism, and Rick Scott and Donald Trump. They’re all arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, saying that it is a conspiracy for every vote to be counted again.”
He continued: “This is third world country stuff. Coming from the Republican Party, who I would think if they want to be consistent with 2000, would be fighting to get every vote counted.”
“Can they be a little less obvious?” Mika Brzezinski added of Republicans’ efforts to stop recounts.
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