3 key races in Florida, Georgia may be headed to recounts

November 9, 2018 GMT

Three high-profile races in the South still don’t have clear victors, days after Tuesday’s midterm elections. Governor’s races in Georgia and Florida and a U.S. Senate race in Florida are all near or below the thresholds to trigger recounts.


Despite one of the candidates conceding on election night, the Florida governor’s race tightened into a margin that could require a recount.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis leads by 0.47 percentage points, a margin that would require a recount under Florida law. A recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida’s secretary of state.


Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, trailed by about 1 percentage point and fewer than 80,000 votes when he conceded Tuesday. As the vote gap narrowed, Gillum said he wanted to see every vote counted, indicating he would not stand in the way of a recount.

DeSantis has mostly stayed out of the fray, saying he was working on plans for taking office in January.


In Florida’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a razor-thin lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

On Friday, Scott led by 0.21 percentage point, low enough to require a hand recount under state law. Florida’s secretary of state will verify the first unofficial count Saturday.

Scott said “unethical liberals” were trying to steal the election in Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach County. The governor filed lawsuits in both counties seeking more information on how their ballots were being tallied.

Nelson filed his own federal lawsuit Friday, seeking to postpone the Saturday deadline to submit unofficial election results.

A judge on Friday sided with Scott and ordered Broward County’s election supervisor to release the voter information sought by the governor by 7 p.m. Friday.


Unofficial returns show Republican Brian Kemp with 50.3 percent of the vote in the Georgia governor’s race, which would give him the majority needed to avoid a runoff election next month.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who hopes to become the nation’s first black female governor, has mobilized volunteers and staff to reach voters who used provisional ballots to make sure their votes are counted by the Friday evening deadline.

Georgia’s 159 counties must certify their vote totals by Tuesday evening.

The key question is how many uncounted ballots actually remain. Kemp said Thursday that the number is below 21,000— almost certainly not enough to force a Dec. 4 runoff. Abrams’ campaign argues the total could be higher, and her lawyers are exploring options to ensure all votes are counted.