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It's not over yet: Gillum-DeSantis race for governor is likely headed to a recount

David Smiley, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI -- The race for Florida governor appears headed for a recount, as Democrat Andrew Gillum continues to gain on Republican Ron DeSantis during the tallying of the final uncounted ballots cast in the midterm elections.

Gillum, the outgoing mayor of Tallahassee, conceded the race Tuesday night before 11 p.m. after results appeared to show him too far behind his opponent to make up the difference. DeSantis, a former congressman, gave his victory speech shortly after.

But thousands of votes remained untallied. And over the next 36 hours, the margins gradually shrank.

As of 9 a.m., DeSantis' lead was just 42,948 votes out of 8,189,305 ballots cast -- equal to 0.52 percent of the vote. Concession speech or no, Florida law requires an automatic machine recount in any race where the margin of victory is within one-half of 1 percentage point.

By 2 p.m., Gillum gained on DeSantis by another 4,441 votes, and now trails by only 0.47 percent.

Thousands of ballots still remain uncounted, so it's too soon to say whether a recount will indeed happen in the race for governor. Florida's 67 elections supervisors must send their unofficial numbers to the state by 1 p.m. Saturday, and campaign volunteers were scrambled around the state Thursday as supervisors prepared to examine provisional ballots cast by voters with unresolved issues at their polling places.

Late Thursday morning, Gillum campaign spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said the campaign was prepared for a recount effort.

"It has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported," she said in a statement. "Our campaign, along with our attorney Barry Richard, is monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount."

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The race for Agriculture Commissioner and U.S. Senate also appear headed for recounts, although those races are closer and could force the state to conduct recounts by hand, which is required when the margins between two candidates are within a quarter of a percent.

Voters have until 5 p.m. to address any outstanding problems with their provisional ballots.

But all eyes were on Broward County, which according to information published by the Florida Division of Elections has yet to report all its early voting and absentee voting totals. Broward is a Democratic party stronghold.

(c)2018 Miami Herald

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