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Bill Nelson: Rick Scott should recuse himself from Florida recount

November 12, 2018

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson demanded Monday that Gov. Rick Scott recuse himself from any involvement as the recount continued in their bitter race for Mr. Nelson’s Senate seat.

Mr. Scott leads the vote, but the margin is close enough for an automatic recount.

Mr. Nelson accused the governor of throwing his weight around to influence events.

“He should remove himself from any role in the recount process so the people can have confidence in the integrity of the election,” Mr. Nelson said in a videotaped statement. “Given his efforts to undermine the votes of Floridians, this is the only way that we can ensure that the people’s votes are protected.”

In response, Mr. Scott’s team said Mr. Nelson is “confused,” because the governor has no role in the recount.

“The recount is being managed by the individual and independent Supervisors of Elections in all 67 counties,” said Lauren Schenone, a Scott for Florida spokeswoman. “If Bill Nelson has an issue with the way the recount is being run, he should take it up with them.”

Earlier Monday, Mr. Scott again declared himself the victor in the race, and his campaign said the governor is already turning his attention toward the move from Tallahassee to Washington. This week, Mr. Scott will fly to the Capitol to participate in new member orientation, his campaign said.

But Mr. Nelson and his attorneys believe both the declaration and any move are premature.

“He’s filed lawsuits to try to stop votes from being counted and to impound voting machines,” Mr. Nelson said. “The reason he’s doing these things is obvious. He’s worried when all the votes are counted, he’ll lose the election.”

Last Friday, Mr. Scott filed two emergency motions in state court to force the Democratic election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties to abide by state laws that required them to post periodic updates on how many ballots they have in hand and how many they have left to count, statutory guidelines both counties ignored as they continued counting votes for more than three days after the polls closed.

Republican officials including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio insist those actions are atypical, and particularly inexplicable given counties such as Miami-Dade, which had many thousands more votes, or those in the Panhandle, which were hammered by Hurricane Michael last month, all managed to complete their work within all legal deadlines.

At the moment, Mr. Scott’s margin stands at 12,562, a figure well within the threshold for a mandated machine recount (0.5 of 1 percent), but larger than any margin a losing candidate has ever overcome in a recount, according to the Scott campaign.

The election to succeed Mr. Scott in the governor’s mansion is also headed to a recount.

Republican Ron DeSantis leads Tallahassee’s Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum by a somewhat larger margin than the Senate race.

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