News and Commentary

FL Dem Senator Nelson Calls For A Recount After Losing To Rick Scott

Florida Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, refusing to concede defeat in the race that he lost Tuesday to Republican Gov. Rick Scott for Nelson’s Senate seat, called for a recount. Nelson’s office released a statement from him saying that Scott had prematurely declared victory in the election. The statement also said that Nelson’s campaign wants “observers in all 67 counties watching for any irregularities, mistakes or unusual partisan activities.”

After the polls had closed, Scott simply stated, “It’s hard to believe we’re here tonight. This campaign is behind us and that’s where we’re going to leave it.”

Wednesday morning, results posted by the state Division of Elections showed Scott holding a lead of over 30,000 votes over Nelson out of over 8.1 million ballots cast. That amounts to a difference of 0.38%. In Florida, an automatic recount is triggered when the final margin is less than .5%. That recount would be triggered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner. If Nelson conceded, the state would eschew a recount, but he refuses to concede, stating, “We are proceeding to a recount.”

The results from the election will not be finalized until Saturday. CNN noted, “Under Florida law, a machine recount is conducted when the margin of victory is 0.5 percent or less. If the margin is 0.25 percent or less after the machine recount, a manual recount is conducted.”

Scott’s spokesman, Chris Hartline released a statement saying, “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.”

Nelson’s campaign is working with Democratic attorney Marc Elias, who said, “We expect the supervisors, regardless of their party affiliation, will discharge their constitutional duties.”

The official notice for a recall would come from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee. Calls to his office were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Pete Mitchell, Nelson’s campaign manager, said, “This is obviously not the result Senator Nelson’s campaign has worked hard for. The senator will be making a full statement tomorrow to thank all those who rallied for his cause.”

CNN added, “The campaign had been waiting Tuesday night on returns from Broward County, where numbers could not be input electronically in seven precincts and had to be driven to county elections offices to be manually entered via thumb drives.”

Scott spoke last night, saying, “The campaigns I’ve been involved in are divisive and tough, and actually way too nasty. But you know what? We’ve done this for over 200 years, and after these campaigns we come together. And that’s what we’re going to do. Americans come together.” Growing teary-eyed, he continued, “There are a couple of people looking down from heaven I want to recognize. I had the most wonderful mom. When I was born my mom was a single mom, and she ultimately raised five kids in a very tough environment with no money. She never would have believed I would be a governor or U.S. senator.”

Scott’s speech below: