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Rick Scott, Florida's Next Senator, Held Strong in Election Recount

November 18, 2018 - 6:15pm

Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's victory in Florida's U.S. Senate race is official. Scott was declared the winner Sunday afternoon by 10,033 votes.

Incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, behind Scott by more than 50,000 votes on Election night, never could make up the difference even after a mess of voting irregularities surfaced in South Florida, conceded to Scott Sunday, recording a YouTube video in which he acknowledged defeat.

Nelson called Scott to concede, the latter said in a statement. President Trump congratulated Scott in a tweet, writing: "From day one Rick Scott never wavered. He was a great governor and will be even a greater senator in representing the people of Florida."

It marks the end of a long and at-times messy vote recount that drew national attention amid reported irregularities in vote counting by county officials, problems with tabulation machines and missed deadlines, particularly in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

It also marks the end of Democrats' hopes in Florida's two high-profile elections this year. On Saturday, Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the governor's race. In defeat, Gillum drew praise from Trump on Twitter. Recounting had stopped in that race after Thursday's official machine recount.

Despite the tens of millions of dollars liberal out-of-state billionaires injected into Florida to flip the Republican state, the only Democratic candidate elected to statewide office was Nikki Fried, a lawyer-lobbyist with no governing experience, who will run the 4,000+-employee Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Florida's 67 counties faced a noon Sunday deadline to finish hand-recounting ballots in the Senate and state agriculture-commissioner races. All of them made it, the Florida Department of State told ABC News.

In Broward, Scott had sued Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes successfully over her failure to provide results on time after Election Day. Her office reportedly had 22 provisional ballots that shouldn't have been counted, within a batch of 205. On Thursday, the county failed to upload results to a state website after the first round of recounting, missing the deadline by two minutes.

Over the weekend, after Snipes' office had completed recounting in the Senate race on Friday but continued recounting in the state's agriculture commissioner race, she acknowledged her staff may have misplaced more than 2,000 ballots as it sought to finalize totals in that state-level race. Senate tallies had already been completed.

"The ballots are in the building," she said at a canvassing board meeting on Saturday, seeking to reassure those in attendance. "The ballots are in the building."

In Palm Beach, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said her counting machines overheated and stopped working multiple times, as the county raced to meet the state's 3 p.m. Thursday deadline in the machine recount. Palm Beach missed that deadline on Thursday and had to continue running the machines afterward. The manufacturer of the machines pushed back, suggesting county officials were running the machines in an unusual way, in comments to The Palm Beach Post.

Palm Beach made Sunday's deadline by one second, Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told ABC affiliate WPBF, showing a readout of her office's upload of results to the state website reading 11:59:59.

Two rounds of recounting had ensued after Scott and Nelson were separated by just .15 percentage points after Election Day -- a narrow enough margin to trigger an automatic machine recount. With the race still close enough after Florida's first round of recounting concluded on Thursday, county election officials hand-examined a subset of votes since Friday, in some cases racing to meet the deadline.

Here are some of the statements released after Sunday's recount made the election final:

Gov. Rick Scott. "I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service. This victory would not be possible without the hard work of so many people. Now the campaign truly is behind us, and that’s where we need to leave it. We must do what Americans have always done: come together for the good of our state and our country. My focus will not be on looking backward, but on doing exactly what I ran on: Making Washington Work. I know change is never popular in Washington and that I’m just one person – but we have to start somewhere. Over the past eight years, we brought great change to Florida. Now, we have the opportunity to do even more. Let’s get to work."

Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party. "Senator Bill Nelson has led with integrity, humility, courage, and vision -- always putting the best interests of Floridians first. From fighting for better schools and health care, to protecting our environment, Senator Nelson has always stood for what is right. Florida is better because of his leadership. We want to thank Senator Nelson for his years of service, and his leadership to our party. The sacrifices he made to serve this state, and our nation, will not be in vain.”

Taryn Fenske, Republican National Committee spokesperson. “Democrat dreams of turning Florida blue have fallen short once again. Congrats to Senator-elect Rick Scott, on winning a hard fought election, not once or twice, but three times.”

Cory Gardner, chairman, National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Today’s results make official what we’ve known since Election Day -- Governor Rick Scott will be the next United States Senator for the great state of Florida. Voters chose Governor Scott to represent them in Washington because Florida has prospered under his strong leadership, and we have no doubt the state will continue to thrive with Rick Scott in the United States Senate.” 

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. "No two Senators from the same state had a better working relationship than the one Senator Nelson and I had. Even though we often voted differently, not once did that interfere with our ability to work together. In this era of political tribalism, it is easy to forget that there is more to any of us than our political affiliation or our policy leanings. I knew Bill Nelson not just as a Democratic Senator, but also as a man of genuine faith, integrity and character. A man who served our country with a dignity that is increasingly rare in our modern politics. I will miss working with him very much."

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Gov. Scott did do good for the environment . Despite what the naysayers and likely unemployed group of paid advertising salespeople from the NPCA, Everglades Foundation and "The Everglades Trust" with their not so brilliant mouthpieces like Interlandi and buffoon Mitchell who claim to have a clue of real law. Good will be done from a new Governor and Legislature. These sheep are corralled by a Crist Chief of Staff loser who comes when called. Come boy...

Scott almost threw the election by signing SB7026. A lot of gun owners withheld their vote because of this issue.

REASON finally won a round on Rick's election - he's done a great job as Governor! Thanks, Rick... stay strong in Congress!

Here in Broward County, Republicans, especially Republican Women worked extra hard to elect the Republican worked. You don't have to "take a county" to win a State election. You just need to lessen the losses in that county to have a shot at winning state-wide. We aren't sitting on our laurels. We are just as committed today as we were on election day to installing Republicans who will support the Trump Agenda at the Federal Level. We'll now be dogging those Democrats who are in the Majority in Congress as well as holding Republican "elites" feet to the fire to continue to vote on bills that our President will sign. We've still a long way to go to drain the swamp in D.C. LET'S GET TO WORK!

You do understand that the Democratic slaughter in the House has effectively ushered in a lame duck Congress and subsequently President. Nothing is getting done unless both parties meet in the middle...

except maybe impeachment in the House...

Scott will be the quirkiest and jerkiest of all GOP U.S. senators ... BUT he'll finally be out of Tallahassee and won't be directly affecting this state's governance on a day-to-day basis anymore. One should Thank God for small favors! (Hopefully, DeSantis' Yale and Harvard education will eventually catch up with him and he won't actually be the Trumpnut dunce he's made himself out to be thus far. But, then again, he has put nutcase and wackadoo Matt Gaetz on his transition team, so, who knows.)

Red Tide Rick off to D.C. For six years Those who stayed home and didn't vote in Broward .. Palm Beach and Miami Dade easily could have made up the measily 10,000 votes Those in both coasts who lamented red tide and green slime could not vote their interests above party . Maybe Scott can shed the Red Tide label by showing those in DC how to game Medicare .. or make money off of a supposedly blind trust He can show DeSantis how to screw up environment so he can assume the the Red Tide Label and become Red Tide Rick As for those who feel the Republicans are. Shoo in for 2020 .. ask the republicans in Orange County CA how they are doing today Landslide Rick and Ron shouldn't be so smug . Neither should the Trumpsters in 2020 and "little Marco" in 2022

"Pretend African"-Americans had better simply become "AMERICANS", and claim their rights legitimately instead of always trying to "play the 'eternally victimized Race' card";...(THAT "card" doesn't 'play' well,... never did). YOU ARE AMERICANS...PERIOD !... (or "line up" in Tijuana with the other "pretend victims"..! )

Well Red Tide Rick bought another one, for what was it this time, 60 Million? No worries. They are effectively neutered now due to the Dem House, and the other Dem in the cabinet. This will essentially be a figurative position until 45 is either indicted or replaced...

Absolutely true. Medicare Milkster Scott will be just another lemming in McConnell's senate. After his company admittedly stole some $2.5 billion from Medicare, one would think that the GOP establishment in D.C. (and in the Senate in particular) wouldn't want ANYthing to do with the weirdo. (?)

Libs did a lousy job of stealing the election, didn’t they, Rick? Really, that man should be ashamed of himself and his name calling.

Rick Scott is one lucky guy. "Resigned" from his company just before Feds imposed charges for massive FRAUD AGAINST US TAX PAYERS. Just before his senate race a Cat 4 hurriane devastated 8 counties with enought Nelson supporters to push the military veteran over the top. And then there was the bad ballot that was so poorly designed, the senate race was overlooked by 25,000 voters in a Democratic county. We'll see if Scott the lucky con will keep up that luck in a Democratic Congress out for Republican blood with their new power to conduct investigations.

Not sure a poorly designed ballot is to be blamed for Bill Nelson's lost. I was born and raised in Philippines, voted since I was determined to be a qualified voter. What makes it hard to fill up a ballot. Remember, all you do is blacken the dot/egg symbol that I called them. The bottom line, Floridian have spoke so lets accept the result and move on. Btw, , I retired after serving the United States Navy for 33 years.

I can't figure out why so many Republicans would vote for a man who was undoutedly up to his eyeballs in illegal activity. An innocent person would not plead the 5th 75 times!



Easy, partisanship. It could be Hitler vs Stalin and partisans would mark the candidate with the corresponding letter behind the name.

You might ask that of the people who voted for Gillum.

You're just speculating on Gillum. What Diane stated is FACT!

The final vote count between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis ended with an approximately 34,000 vote difference out of 8 million plus cast. The Reform Party candidate, Darcy Richardson, and his Lt. Governor choice, Nancy Argenziano, received over 47,000 votes, despite the blackout by the press and media on third party candidates...which was almost one and one/half times the vote difference between Gillum and DeSantis. On Election night, Gillum was ahead in the votes, and the Republicans pummeled the Richardson campaign with vindictive twitter and facebook criticisms of being a "spoiler" for their candidate. Then, when DeSantis moved ahead, the Democrats became, and continue to be, the internet culprits, throwing vindictives at the Reform Party team. Both major parties should recognize that the Richardson-Argenziano team was the more moderate of their two extreme candidates. Neither major party candidate made any effort to moderate its platform or statements, creating deep concern for everyone, and alienation at least among the 47,000 plus Florida voters endorsing the third party candidates. Let us hope that Governor-elect DeSantis will moderate his views, or else the general populace will not have to feel they only have a choice between the "lessor of two evils." Floridians, voters and non-voters alike, will be more demanding of Mr. DeSantis' fairer and a more moderate performance, since they will be his sole constituents in this new campaign as The Governor of all Floridians!

Bravo! Well said!

Bravo! Well said!


Another ALF! Racist and all!

Dems should pack it in and head north or out to California. Florida is now DEEP RED. Path is clear for Trump 2020!

Well said But complacency is our biggest enemy. This was far too clove for comfort. I know too many conservatives who didn’t vote. Shameful.

Amen, AZ. Too many conservatives did not vote . . .shame on them. I was on the recount team. Many people did not vote or Senator or Governor . . .only the amendments. Shame on them.

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