TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida faced the prospect of recounts in the razor-thin races for governor and U.S. Senate.
In the governor’s race, Democrat Andrew Gillum’s campaign said Thursday it’s prepared for a possible recount. He conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Tuesday night, though the margin of the race has since tightened. As of Thursday afternoon, DeSantis held a lead of 0.47 percentage point over Gillum.
Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson has already started preparing for a potential recount in a race that remains too close to call against Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Nelson’s lawyer called that race a “jump ball” — though Scott’s campaign urged Nelson to concede. Scott held a 0.21 percentage lead over Nelson Thursday afternoon.
The tight races underscored Florida’s status as a perennial swing state where elections are often decided by the thinnest of margins. Since 2000, when Florida decided the presidency by 537 votes in a contest that took more than five weeks to sort out, the state has seen many close elections, but never so many dead heats in one year.
Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State, said she didn’t know of any other recount in a governor or Senate race in Florida history. She was researching the subject Thursday.
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.
In yet a third statewide seat — the Cabinet position of agriculture commissioner — the candidates were separated by only 483 votes out of more than 8 million cast or a margin of 0.006 percent.
Gillum’s campaign said it’s monitoring the situation with an elections lawyer and preparing for a possible state-mandated recount. He hired attorney Barry Richard, who represented President George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential recount.
At an event in Hialeah Gardens, DeSantis declined to discuss prospects for a recount, telling reporters he was “very proud to be elected on Tuesday night.”