Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday urged Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to recuse himself from recount procedures in Florida following midterm elections that resulted in three tight races ― including one in which Scott is a candidate.
Schumer suggested any role Scott would play as governor in the recounts represents a major conflict of interest, given that he is challenging Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the Senate race that is one of those still up in the air. Unofficial returns give Scott a razor-thin lead.
“Scott should recuse himself immediately,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State Of The Union.” “He has a self-interest in jaundicing this election. He should be out of it all together.”
Florida officials announced on Saturday the recounts in the races for the Senate seat, the governor’s office and for agriculture commissioner.
The margin separating Scott and Nelson in their race has narrowed to less than the 0.25-percentage-point threshold that triggers a manual recount, in which votes are counted by hand.
As of Saturday afternoon, Scott led Nelson by 0.15 of a percentage point.
Both Scott and President Donald Trump have suggested widespread voter fraud occurred in Palm Beach and Broward counties, though the Florida Department of State, which oversees the state’s elections, said it had not found evidence of criminal activity.
Schumer on Sunday pushed back against the Florida governor’s voter fraud claims.
“The paramount issue here... is having every vote counted ― even if takes a little longer,” Schumer said. “We should not be rushed into doing this, particularly in an election that is so darn close.”
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” said he understood Scott’s “frustration.”
“We have evidence that the state constitution of Florida was violated,” said Gardner, who headed the GOP Senate campaign arm in this election cycle. “A court in Florida has said that. We have evidence that people were going into unwitnessed areas filling out ballots, duplicating ballots, which is allowed under the law but only if you have witnesses on the canvassing board.”
“I think he’s right to be upset,” Gardner said of Scott. “Now what we have to do, though, is make sure that we are protecting the integrity of this election. That we count every vote, that we count every ballot, that we make sure the integrity of this election is as strong as it can be.”