On Saturday, the Florida secretary of state announced that the races for governor, senator, and agriculture commissioner are all officially headed for a recount. According to the Washington Post, Republican Rick Scott’s lead for Senate has shrunk to just over 12,000 votes, while gubernatorial candidate Republican Ron DeSantis is leading by about 33,000 votes. The Florida election has once again gained national attention as accusations of fraud and problems with ballots have brought the races to the forefront of the midterm elections.
In his race against Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, Governor Rick Scott leads by just 12,500 votes. Rick Scott’s campaign has accused Broward County election supervisor Brenda Snipes of election fraud after she was forced to admit that she had counted about a dozen rejected ballots.
“Three days after Election Day, the vote tally continues to change and Supervisor Snipes still refuses to explain where and how the new votes came to light,” the campaign said. “The public deserves a clear and direct answer.”
After vote counts were made public, Scott’s campaign called for Nelson to concede the election and spare the cost of a recount, but Nelson stayed the course. Meanwhile, Scott escalated tensions by claiming, without evidence, that “left-wing activists” were attempting to steal the election.
President Trump has joined in the accusations, spending the past few days tweeting about the midterm elections, calling into question the results.
“Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in
#Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!” he tweeted on Friday.
Trump suggested that the narrowing margin between Scott and Nelson is attributed to fraud.
“Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. ‘The Broward Effect.’ How come they never find Republican votes?” he said.
Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “The Broward Effect.” How come they never find Republican votes?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The race for governor between Representative Ron DeSantis and Democrat Mayor Andrew Gillum has a wider gap, but is still within the margin for a recount. The president commented on the race, saying that Gillum had conceded the election, but was now “back in play.” “This is an embarrassment to our Country and to Democracy!” he wrote.
The Florida Department of State, which is run by individuals appointed by Scott, said that no evidence of criminal activity was found. After the news of the Florida recount was announced, Trump once again took to Twitter to call the process an attempt to “steal” the election. “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!” he said.
Andrew Weinstein, a representative for the Democratic Lawyers Council, countered Trump’s claims of fraud, saying that more Democratic votes have been counted in the past few days as the Broward County results come in because there are more Democrats in that county.
“Florida has never had a full statewide recount. It’s about to have three,” he said. “Buckle up.”
Florida has never had a full statewide recount.— Andrew Weinstein (@Weinsteinlaw) November 10, 2018
It’s about to have three.
Buckle up. https://t.co/pzUN6Zmkkd
Florida has until Thursday to complete the recount.