Quantcast
Connect with us

Florida completes first round of recounts in Senate, governor races

Published

on

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Mayor Andrew Gillium (D-FL)

Florida election officials on Thursday completed an initial recount of ballots in close races for the U.S. Senate and governor’s seat but did not immediately release updated statewide figures.

The recount concluded after U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee, Florida, cleared the way to include ballots from as many as 5,000 people across the state who submitted ballots by mail that were rejected by election officials. A Georgia federal judge issued a similar ruling as that state worked to resolve a close governor’s race.

ADVERTISEMENT

In Florida, the recount of close races from the Nov. 6 elections and attendant legal disputes over the validity of votes have stirred memories of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped an ongoing recount in the state and sent George W. Bush to the White House.

Initial counts before the recount showed Florida’s outgoing governor, Republican Rick Scott, leading in his bid to unseat U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. Republican Ron DeSantis led Democrat Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race.

The state did not immediately provide updated results, but the Scott campaign in a statement said its margin of victory increased moderately. The Nelson campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In both races the initial margins of victory were below the 0.5 percentage point threshold at which state law requires a recount of ballots. If the margin is below 0.25 percent by the end of the electronic recount, a second round of recounting by hand will follow.

Walker grew testy during a series of Thursday hearings about lawsuits over the recounts, voicing frustration about how to handle uneven progress in different counties and also the Florida legislature’s response to historic election problems.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have been the laughing stock of the world election after election,” Walker said. “But we’ve still chosen not to fix this.”

Separately, a federal judge in Georgia ordered state election officials to count some previously rejected ballots in that state’s governor’s race, where ballots are still being tallied but Republican former Secretary of State Brian Kemp has declared victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Overall control of the U.S. Senate is not at stake in the Florida race. President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans extended their majority in the chamber while Democrats took a majority in the House of Representatives. But both the Senate and governor’s races are being closely scrutinized as Florida is traditionally a key swing state in presidential elections.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Democrats’ majority in the new House expanded by another seat on Thursday when the Maine Secretary of State’s office declared Jared Golden the winner of a race against incumbent Republican Representative Bruce Poliquin. That race represented an early test of a new state ranked-choice voting system, designed to prevent candidates in races with three or more contenders from winning office without majority support.

LEGAL SKIRMISHING
In Florida, Nelson’s lead attorney in the case, Marc Elias, praised the judge’s ruling on Thursday to allow voters to fix signature-matching issues.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republicans, who have also filed lawsuits challenging the process, decried the ruling, and the Scott campaign filed an appeal.

“Last week, Florida voters elected me as their next U.S. Senator and now the ballots have been counted twice,” Scott said in a statement, calling on Nelson to end the recount process.

It was not clear that additional ballots allowed in either Florida or Georgia would tip the races in question.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pre-recount tallies from Florida show Scott leading Nelson by 50.07 percent of the vote to 49.92, with DeSantis holding 49.59 percent to Gillum’s 49.18 percent.

Georgia’s results show Kemp leading Abrams 50.23 percent to 48.83 percent. The election was a three-way race that included a Libertarian candidate who drew close to 1 percent of the vote, and if Kemp’s total ended up dipping below 50 percent, he and Abrams would proceed to a runoff next month.

Just three of 15 consequential recounts of statewide U.S. elections from 2000 through 2015 resulted in a change of winner, according to a 2016 analysis by FairVote. Those recounts resulted in an average margin swing of just 0.019 percent – less than the margins in any of the three races currently being recounted, according to the nonpartisan group.

This year’s campaigns went down as the most expensive midterm elections in U.S. history, with some $5.25 billion spent on advertising, up 78 percent from the last midterm elections in 2014, according to a Kantar Media analysis released on Thursday. Spending was 20 percent higher than the 2016 presidential election.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by Letitia Stein, writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Frances Kerry and Cynthia Osterman


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Fiona Hill and David Holmes testify Burisma was ‘code for the Bidens’ in the Trump administration

Published

on

Fiona Hill, a former national security official, and diplomat David Holmes testified on Thursday that Trump administration operating in Ukraine knew that President Donald Trump viewed Burisma as "code" for former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, who sat on the company's board.

At a House impeachment hearing, Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman asked the two witnesses about a connection between calls from the White House for Ukraine to investigate Burisma and the Bidens.

"Was it apparent to you that when President Trump or anyone else was pushing for an investigation into Burisma, that the reason they wanted that investigation related to what President Trump said here, the Bidens?" Goldman asked.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Fiona Hill blasts Rudy Giuliani for blurting out ‘incendiary remarks’ on TV that came ‘back to haunt us’

Published

on

Former National Security Council official Dr. Fiona Hill testified to Congress Thursday that what Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine was dangerous to the United States and that she knew there would be consequences.

Staff counsel Daniel Goldman asked about who was involved in the conspiracy theories surrounding Ukraine. He asked about what John Bolton was saying about Giuliani and his "interest" in Ukraine.

"It was part of a conversation about the things that Mr. Giuliani was saying quite frequently in public," Dr. Hill said. "We saw them often or saw him often on television making these statements and I had also already brought to Ambassador Bolton's attention, the attacks, smear campaign against Ambassador [Marie] Yovanovitch and expressed great regret about how this was unfolding and, in fact, the shameful way in which Ambassador Yovanovitch was being smeared and attacked and I asked if there was anything we could do about it."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

David Holmes explains how Trump’s conspiracy theory on Ukraine serves Putin’s interests

Published

on

House impeachment witnesses Fiona Hill and David Holmes explained what Russia's president Vladimir Putin gained from Republican conspiracy theories blaming Ukraine for 2016 election interference.

President Donald Trump asked Ukraine's president to investigate those claims, which are disputed by U.S. intelligence services, in addition to announcing a probe of Democratic rival Joe Biden -- and the two impeachment witnesses explained how that helped Putin.

"First of all, to deflect from the allegations of Russian interference," testified Holmes, who served three years in the U.S. embassy in Moscow. "Second of all, to drive a wedge between the United States and Ukraine, which Russia wants to essentially get back into its atmosphere of influence. Thirdly, to besmirch Ukraine and is leadership and degrade and erode support for Ukraine from other key partners in Europe and elsewhere."

Continue Reading
 
 

Happy Holidays!

As a special thank you from all of us at Raw, we're offering Raw Story ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. Now 'til Dec. 31st.
Offer Expires In:
close-link