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Bill Nelson Florida ‘Emergency Recount Fund’ to pay for legal action

November 9, 2018

With Democratic lawyers descending on Florida in the aftermath of another excruciatingly close election, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson is rattling the post-election cup.

The three-term Democrat, who lost narrowly to Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Election Night but has declined to concede as votes continue to come in from liberal districts, sent at least his third fundraising e-mail around 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

“As more votes are being counted, Sen. Bill Nelson’s vote share is increasing and will continue to increase,” the fundraising blast read. “We believe Sen. Nelson will be the winner of this election at the end of this process and we must see it through to the end.”

The “Emergency Recount Fund,” as the campaign dubbed it says the money will be used “to ensure every vote is counted,” but also vowed legal action “when necessary.”

Florida machine recounts are triggered when the margin between the candidates is below 0.5 of 1 percent; a hand recount takes place when that margin diminishes to a quarter percent. The Florida Secretary of State has not ordered a recount, and his office said that would not happen until canvassing boards return their unofficial returns on Nov. 10.

In the meantime, Republicans said Democrats are launching a slow-motion larceny. The Scott campaign said bluntly Sen. Nelson’s squad of lawyers, led by Marc Elias of the Democratic-connected Perkins Coie firm, means “steal” when they say “win.”

Others, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, questioned why all the activity seemed to be occurring in liberal strongholds such as Broward County and Palm Beach County where, days after polls closed, batches in undisclosed amounts seem to materialize and further trim Mr. Scott’s lead.

The activity is particularly curious given areas that were ravaged by Category 4 Hurricane Michael less than a month ago seem to have conducted their elections without issues, whereas Deep Blue pockets in the southern part of the state continue to produce votes.

“Democrat lawyers are descending on Florida,” Sen. Rubio tweeted Thursday. “They aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted.”

“They are here to change the results of the election; - #Broward is where they plan to do it,” Mr. Rubio tweeted, also accusing them of trying “to steal a seat.”

The possibility also arose Thursday of a possible recount in Florida’s gubernatorial race. Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis won that race according to Election Night returns, and Andrew Gillum, the progressive Democratic mayor of Tallahassee conceded. However, Mr. Gillum announced Thursday his campaign was still reviewing the situation as some state officials seemed to be revealing more Democratic votes.

Mr. Gillum lost by a slightly larger margin than Mr. Nelson, but state media reports late Thursday claimed Mr. Gillum now trailed by fewer than 40,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast, which would put it within the recount threshold.

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