Republican Rick Scott Wins Florida Senate Election after Recount

In the end, the tally had Scott’s margin of victory was 0.12 percentage points out of more than 8.19 million votes cast.

FL Gov. Scott Demands Sen. Nelson Provide Proof of Russian Election Influence

Senator Bill Nelson (D) and Governor Rick Scott (R) both of Florida (screen shot: Fox News/Youtube)

(Gray Rohrer and Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel) Florida Gov. Rick Scott won the U.S. Senate race over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson Sunday after a manual recount showed him with a 10,033-vote victory in one of the closest, and at nearly $200 million, the most expensive statewide races in Florida history.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” Scott said.

In the end, the tally had Scott’s margin of victory was 0.12 percentage points out of more than 8.19 million votes cast.

“I was not victorious in this race but I still wish to strongly re-affirm the cause for which we fought: A public office is a public trust,” Nelson said.

For Nelson, 76, the loss probably means the end of a political career that began in 1972 when he was elected to the Florida House and included times in the U.S. House and as Florida Insurance Commissioner before being elected to the Senate in 2000.

In his concession speech, he warned of a “gathering darkness in our politics in recent years.”

“We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy; where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and the free press is assaulted as the ‘enemy of the people,’” Nelson said.

Florida’s razor-tight race for governor was decided Saturday night when Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis. A machine recount gave DeSantis the victory by 33,683 votes, a difference of 0.41 percentage points.

The election results are scheduled to be certified at 9 a.m. Tuesday. State law allows a 10-day window for the results to be challenged in court.

If there are no challenges, the results cap a caustic election cycle that broke records for the amount of money spent in a midterm year.

By Nov. 2, the Senate candidates alone had spent a combined $91 million, while outside groups spent $89 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Scott was responsible for more than a quarter of that, putting up more than $50 million of his own money into the race. The money paid for ads, starting in the spring, that portrayed Nelson as an aging, lifelong politician who accomplished little in Congress.

Nelson’s campaign, knowing he’d have fewer resources, waited largely until after the primary to respond in broadcast ads with negative attacks, Scott as a millionaire who profited from his time in office.

Scott began the campaign keeping his distance from President Donald Trump in an apparent attempt to lure more moderates to vote for him. But in the final days before the election, Scott appeared with the president as he campaigned for Scott and DeSantis.

One of the main points of contention was the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. At first, Scott ran ads slamming Nelson for “refusing to meet” with Kavanaugh, but Nelson said he tried but their schedules never synced.

Then came the allegation of attempted rape and the testimony of the alleged victim in Senate hearings, galvanizing opposition from Democrats and support from Republicans for Kavanaugh’s nomination. Nelson was quiet on Kavanaugh for a while before deciding to vote against him.

After missing the machine recount deadline last week, Broward County completed the hand recount on time on Sunday. The county, which did not timely report results on election night, missed the machine recount deadline by two minutes when it failed to upload the results to the state website in time.

Broward elections County officials met their noon deadline Sunday, submitting their final election tallies to the state with 52 minutes to spare.

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