Democrat incumbent Senator Bill Nelson has called Republican candidate Rick Scott and conceded their race, ending a lengthy recount effort by the Democrat Party.
The senatorial race made national headlines after an Election Day voter tally showed a massive lead for Scott. But, over the ensuing days, new votes diminished his lead, ultimately triggering an automatic recount.
“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” Scott said, as the Washinton Examiner reports. “Now the campaign truly is behind us, and that’s where we need to leave it. We must do what Americans have always done: come together for the good of our state and our country. My focus will not be on looking backward, but on doing exactly what I ran on: Making Washington Work.”
According to the report, despite a machine recount and a hand recount effort which concluded on Sunday, Nelson was still 10,033 votes down to Scott.
From the Washington Examiner:
The manual tabulation had been triggered by the closeness of Scott’s slim vote count advantage over Scott following a machine recount, which concluded Thursday.
In a recorded address, Nelson thanked his constituents, which he has served since 2001.
“Well, things turned out a little differently than we had hoped, but I by no means feel defeated,” Nelson wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a rewarding journey and a very humbling experience. No one could be more blessed.”
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Undoubtedly, the election was surrounded in controversy.
Two counties—Broward and Palm Beach, which ABC News calls “both large, Democratic strongholds in South Florida”—were subject to criticisms from Republicans and President Trump who claimed the counties broke state and federal laws when they withheld their results past voting deadlines.
From ABC News:
In Broward, Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes was sued successfully by Scott’s campaign over her failure to provide results on time after Election Day. Her office reportedly intermingled 22 provisional ballots that shouldn’t have been counted, within a batch of 205. On Thursday, the county failed to upload results to a state website after the first round of recounting, missing the deadline by minutes.
Over the weekend, after Snipes’s office had completed recounting in the Senate race on Friday but continued recounting in the state’s agriculture commissioner race, she acknowledged her staff may have misplaced more than 2,000 ballots as it sought to finalize totals in that state-level race. Senate tallies had already been completed.
In Palm Beach, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said her counting machines overheated and stopped working multiple times, as the county raced to meet the state’s 3 p.m. Thursday deadline in the machine recount. Palm Beach missed that deadline on Thursday and had to continue running the machines afterward. The manufacturer of the machines pushed back, suggesting county officials were running the machines in an unusual way, in comments to The Palm Beach Post.
Palm Beach made Sunday’s deadline by one second, Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told ABC affiliate WPBF, showing a readout of her office’s upload of results to the state website reading 11:59:59.
President Trump congratulated Scott on his election victory and a “a courageous and successful campaign.”
“From day one Rick Scott never wavered. He was a great Governor and will be even a greater Senator in representing the People of Florida. Congratulations to Rick on having waged such a courageous and successful campaign!” Trump tweeted.