With the incredibly tight race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson in Florida, the state could be headed for an automatic recount before the day is out.
On Tuesday night, Scott prematurely celebrated his victory after Fox News declared him the winner before Nelson followed with a statement that things aren’t quite over yet.
Per ABC News, while Nelson is trailing his Republican rival, it is only by a narrow margin of around 34,500 out of the total 8.1 million votes that were cast in the Florida senate race. Mathematically, that comes in at less than half a percentage point difference between the two candidates. Florida state law requires that any vote that runs that narrowly must be submitted for a recount before the race is called.
Last night, Nelson’s statement called the preliminary results “disappointing,” but there were still votes to count at the time. Into the early hours of this morning, it appeared that the two candidates were going to remain neck and neck as the final votes were being tallied. Around 3 a.m., the results were close enough to trigger talk of a recount, with Scott leading by just 34,537 votes, making up just a 0.4 percent difference between him and Nelson.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for a recount in his race against Republican Gov. Rick Scott. CNN has not called the Senate race, but Scott's campaign has declared victory. https://t.co/Uvpn8964ww pic.twitter.com/pCTRRFNpYE
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 7, 2018
Following the call for a recount, the 67 county supervisors of election will have to recheck the total number of votes cast for each candidate, and Nelson’s campaign will have to “contact voters whose ballots were not counted due to a lack of ID or a matching address.” Typically, the deadline for the process to be completed will be set at noon Saturday, but extenuating circumstances could cause that to change over the next few days.
Nelson has already shared his intentions to have observers in all 67 counties ensuring there are no “irregularities, mistakes, or unusual partisan activities.”
Meanwhile, Scott doesn’t believe that the result will change, regardless of this scrutiny, and has issued a scathing statement about Nelson’s request for a recount, per CNN.
“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.”
The close race comes in spite of the fact that Scott spent approximately $69 million dollars — much of it from his own pocket — for this election, while Nelson spent only around $28 million for his campaign.