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With Florida recount over, Andrew Gillum's last chance to become governor rests with the courts

November 16,2018 00:13

After Election Day, DeSantis, led Gillum by fewer than 34,000 votes or a margin of .409 percent. At the time, the race was one of three under a statewide mandated recount. Margins in the Senate and state's agriculture commissioner were also under the ...



Ledyard King USA TODAY
Published 9:43 PM EST Nov 15, 2018

WASHINGTON – Andrew Gillum will have to rely on the courts if he has any chance to become Florida's first black governor.
A recount of more than 8 million ballots that ended Thursday afternoon confirmed that Republican Ron DeSantis beat the Democratic Tallahassee mayor in the nationally watched race that galvanized progressives across the country.
The final tally, headed to certification next week, was 4,075,445 for DeSantis and 4,041,762 for Gillum.
The margin of victory was enough for DeSantis, a former congressman representing Jacksonville, to avoid a hand recount of questionable ballots set aside for further review. He had already assembled a transition team to prepare for his ascendance as Florida's 46th governor.
But Gillum is not conceding. He and his supporters believe there is still a path to victory: lawsuits that could add more votes in support of him.
“A vote denied is justice denied — the State of Florida must count every legally cast vote," Gillum said in a statement after the recount totals were released. "As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process. Voters need to know that their decision to participate in this election, and every election, matters. It is not over until every legally casted vote is counted.”
The deadline for the recount was 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Thursday but Palm Beach County, a Democratic stronghold, did not complete its recount. It was the only one of Florida's 67 counties that failed to do so. A lawsuit filed by Democrats could find more votes for Gillum there, for example.
After Election Day, DeSantis, led Gillum by fewer than 34,000 votes or a margin of .409 percent. At the time, the race was one of three under a statewide mandated recount. Margins in the Senate and state's agriculture commissioner were also under the half-percent margin needed to automatically trigger a machine recount.
After the recount, the margin barely changed.

Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, second from left, thanks supporters with his wife, Casey, left, Lt. Gov.-elect Jeanette Nunez, center; her husband, Adrian Nunez, second from right, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., after being declared the winner of the Florida gubernatorial race at an election party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla.
Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP

Gillum, 39, had attracted a national following as he sought to make history.
Potential 2020 presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaigned for him and he was often featured on national news shows after he scored an unexpected win in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in August.
But he was continually dogged by ethical issues, including his acceptance of tickets to the hit Broadway show "Hamilton," a lavish trip to Costa Rica with lobbyist pals, and a fundraiser underwritten by an undercover FBI agent.
The victory by DeSantis, 40, who is an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, keeps the governor's mansion in GOP hands, where it has been since 1999.
 
Published 9:43 PM EST Nov 15, 2018

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