Ron DeSantis Wins Florida Governor Race After Recount, Gillum Refuses to Concede

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 16, 2018US News

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) won the race for Florida governor after the machine recount results showed him up by more than 33,000 votes.

The second set of unofficial results showed DeSantis with 4,075,445 votes, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Democrat Andrew Gillum, 39, the mayor of Tallahassee, ended with 4,041,762 votes.

The recount was triggered because the lead for DeSantis was below 0.5 percentage points after the first round of unofficial results. The results are now final; but the state’s Senate race heads to a hand recount because results after the machine recount were within 0.25 percentage points.

Because of his large lead, DeSantis had said days ago he was preparing for his transition to governor, an office he will assume at the beginning of the new year.

DeSantis named his transition team earlier in the week, saying on Twitter: “I’m proud of the team we have begun assembling to start the transition process. These talented individuals will ensure my administration is ready to serve the people of Florida on day one!”

Ron DeSantis celebrates victory with wife
Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey celebrate after winning the Florida Governor’s race during DeSantis’ party at the Rosen Centre in Orlando on Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 6, 2018. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Won’t Concede

Despite gaining just one vote in the machine recount, Gillum has refused to concede.

“A vote denied is justice denied—the State of Florida must count every legally cast vote,” Gillum told the Orlando Sentinel.

“As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process.”

While Gillum hasn’t filed any lawsuit, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has filed several that contend every ballot should count even if they were rejected by election officials for mismatched signatures, empty slots, and other issues. Both Gillum and Nelson’s lawyers objected at one point when the ballot of a non-citizen was discarded. Gillum conceded on election night but withdrew his concession several days later.

The voting results will be certified on Nov. 20.

Elections staff load ballots into machines
Elections staff load ballots into machines as recounting begins at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office in Lauderhill, Florida on Nov. 11, 2018. (Joe Skipper/Getty Images)


Florida has faced numerous problems in the midterm elections, particularly in Broward County and Palm Beach County. In Broward, election supervisor Brenda Snipes admitted to mixing illegal ballots in with legal ones and refused repeatedly to comply with state law.

In the latest bizarre twist, Broward filed the machine recount results two minutes late, meaning the results of the first unofficial count stand.

Susan Bucher, the counterpart of Snipes in Palm Beach, was unable to complete the machine recount by the mandated Thursday afternoon deadline. She claimed her team needed just a few more hours, despite the fact that her team had paused multiple times for hours on end.

The county shut off its ballot-counting machines Wednesday evening around 8 p.m. and turned one machine back on around 10 a.m. the next morning, reported the Miami Herald. It’s not clear if Bucher will be removed from her post; Snipes is considered likely to be removed from her post.

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