Florida’s Race For Governor Is In Recount Territory

Andrew Gillum "started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted," said a spokeswoman.

Update: Nov. 10 ― On Saturday, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced that results in the state’s gubernatorial race would be reviewed through an official recount.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The tight gubernatorial race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former Rep. Ron DeSantis will likely head toward a recount.  

As additional votes were tallied following the general election, DeSantis’ lead narrowed to 0.41 percent, according to the most recent unofficial election results from the Florida Division of Elections as of Thursday afternoon.

This means the margin is close enough to trigger a machine recount.

Florida law mandates that races where unofficial results show a margin of 0.5 percent or less will be subject to a machine recount, ordered by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. If the machine recount shows a margin of 0.25 percent or less, the ballots will be manually recounted. (A manual recount is done by hand and considers overvotes and undervotes rejected by the machine.)

Detzner told county election officials on Nov. 8 to prepare for statewide recounts, according to The Tampa Bay Times. “The recounts will be nationally watched ... (we’re) under a microscope,” he said. 

At least two other races are also likely to be subject to a recount, including the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The margin of victory in that race has narrowed to 0.15 percent, which places it in manual recount territory.

(Editor’s Note: The vote margins mentioned in this story change frequently and will be updated often.)

Gillum conceded the election on Nov. 6 around 11 p.m., about three hours after the polls closed.

“I sincerely regret that I couldn’t bring it home for you, but I can guarantee you this: I’m not going anywhere,” he said during a tearful, 10 minute speech. “We’re going to fight.”

But concession speeches are not legally binding. They are a courteous gesture to one’s opponent out of respect for the democratic process. Gillum could formally decline a recount, but his campaign doesn’t appear to be considering that option.

“On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count,” said Johanna Cervone, the campaign’s communications director, in a statement. “Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported.”

“Our campaign, along with our attorney Barry Richard, is monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount,” she continued. “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.”

Richard represented former President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. 

When additional ballots began narrowing DeSantis’ margin of victory on Nov. 7, Gillum tweeted: “I’m looking forward to seeing every vote counted.” The tweet included a link to an article about an unknown number of outstanding votes in Democratic-stronghold Broward County.

Gillum became the first black major-party gubernatorial candidate in Florida’s history when he grabbed the Democratic nomination in August. And with that achievement, racism became the fulcrum of the election.

Within hours after the primary, DeSantis told Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum. And then voters received two separate robocalls from a neo-Nazi group in Idaho where a man pretending to be Gillum speaks in a stereotypically exaggerated dialect over drums and jungle noises. DeSantis also made four appearances at events hosted by a white nationalist and did not return a campaign contribution from Steven Alembik, who called former President Barack Obama a “muslim n****r.”

“I am embarrassed for my state,” said Michelle Sherfield, who attended Gillum’s election night event. “I’m outdone. I’m speechless. I really am. I just can’t believe that we have decided that it is okay for a racist to be a governor.”