Jacob Ogles, Author at Florida Politics - Page 6 of 41

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

Matt Willhite relishes bipartisan role as Palm Beach delegation chair

Even as a sharply partisan recount process played out in his backyard, state Rep. Matt Willhite celebrated a new bipartisan role he will play in the coming Legislative session.

The Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation unanimously elected Willhite as its new chairman.

“It’s an honor to be put there by my colleagues to fight for the thoughts and ideas and to perpetuate the Palm Beach County message in Tallahassee,” he said.

The Royal Palm Beach Democrat served during his freshman term as vice chair of the delegation. Now, he’s excited for a leadership role for one of the most populous counties in Florida.

Of course, it comes as Palm Beach County draws scrutiny for its role in statewide recounts. Palm Beach County’s elections office failed to meet numerous deadlines regarding the recount, and was the last county to submit its initial tabulation of votes.

Willhite, though, said the expectations put on elections officials may simply be impossibly high.

“We campaign for two years, then vote for 15 days with early voting, then we vote on Election Day,” he said. “And after all that, we expect accurate, precise results within 30 minutes.”

In Palm Beach in particular, aging technology seemed in part to blame for a slow count. Willhite wants to ensure funding becomes available to modernize the equipment in the office.

And he expects election reforms on vote-by-mail and other balloting issues to come up in the legislative session.

Incidentally, Willhite just won his second term in the Florida House with a comfortable 20-percent margin over Republican Laurel Bennett. But he knows election confusion, as a mix-up in Wellington City Commission elections in 2012 caused serious confusion.

But he hopes in his role as delegation chair to focus on more regional needs than shinier scanners. He notes Palm County serves as maybe the most economically diverse in Florida, with impoverished areas like Belle Glade sharing a county with Mar-A-Lago.

The region serves as home to everything from the Scripps Research campus to the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals spring training facilities, all community assets that demand bipartisan support at the state level.

The region requires the delegation working together on numerous regional interests.

He notes the delegation unanimously selected Rep. Rick Roth, a Loxahatchee Republican, as vice chair.

“He talked about how it was greater to have us all sitting at the same table,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what part we are from. On Palm Beach County matters, we speak with one voice.”

Bill Nelson ends recount fight, concedes to Rick Scott

Sen. Bill Nelson formally brought to a close his recount fight in the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat and conceded to Republican opponent Rick Scott.

“I was not victorious in this race but I still wish to strongly reaffirm the cause for which we fought: A public office is a public trust,” said Nelson.

Nelson made his public statement shortly after a hand recount of over and undervotes statewide drew to a close.

Scott released his own statement recounting the conversation between the men.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” said Scott.

Nelson’s lengthy statement thanked the people of Florida for entrusting him for decades.

“Well, things worked out a little differently than Grace and I had hoped. But, let me say, I by no measure feel defeated,” he said.

“And that’s because I have had the privilege of serving the people of Florida and our country for most of my life. And I don’t think anyone could have been as blessed. It has been a rewarding journey as well as a very humbling experience.”

The manual recount cut Scott’s lead over Nelson to just 10,033 votes, or 0.12 percent of more than 8.1 million votes cast.

But that’s not close enough for any pending litigation to realistically eliminate the gap.

In truth, Nelson’s chances at victory, however slim, seemed dashed once Broward County completed its manual inspection of undervotes. Nearly 25,000 fewer votes were cast in the heavily Democratic county for the Senate race than for Governor, despite the federal race appearing first on the ballot.

Most attribute that to poor ballot design, which put the Senate contest in a column below voter instructions, but Nelson attorney Marc Elias suggested a machine calibration issue left thousands of votes uncounted.

Had that been the case, it should have been remedied in a manual recount of votes. Instead, Nelson picked up just 410 votes in the hand tabulation.

Nelson thanked campaign staff for support through the campaign and the recount process.

“First, I want to say thanks to all of you who rallied to our cause, you walked the precincts, knocked on the doors, made phone calls, and contributed your time and your resources. And with an optimistic heart, I wish to say something else: We may have been heavily outspent in this campaign, but we were never outworked.

“To all Floridians, whether you voted for me, or for my opponent, or you didn’t vote at all, I ask that you to never give up this fight.”

Nelson’s concession signals the close to an 18-year Senate career and a dramatic turnaround in electoral fortunes for the long-time Florida politician.

In the year 2000, as Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore lost by 537 votes to Republican George W. Bush after a historic statewide recount, Nelson won his Senate run over Republican Bill McCollum by 284,747 votes, almost five percent of the vote.

In 2006, he defeated Republican Katherine Harris by more than 22 percentage points, and in 2012, he beat Republican Connie Mack IV by 13 percent.

Both of his previous re-election campaigns took place in strong Democratic years, as did this one, but his decades of experience could not fend off a challenge by Scott, who pumped nearly $70 million of his personal fortune into the Senate race this year.

This marks a third straight statewide win for Scott, this time by his narrowest margin, even as he claimed a majority of votes for the first time.

Scott ran a campaign praised for discipline and for its outreach to Hispanic voters. While the Latino vote nationwide continues to trend Democratic, Scott’s relationship with Puerto Rican and Cuban leaders helped him maintain a strong performance in the Sunshine State.

The Republican Governor took time off the campaign trail to mark the anniversary of when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, and he tallies endorsements from island officials.

Meanwhile, his campaign aggressively painted Nelson as an out-of-touch pol who overstayed his welcome in Washington.

As Nelson leaves the scene, he outlined policy positions he hopes endure beyond his time in office.

“You must fight to protect the fundamental right to health care and against any attempt to rollback our progress on things like pre-existing conditions. You must fight to preserve the natural wonders of this state, from the Everglades to the Pine Forests to the beaches and offshore waters. Say ‘no’ to drilling — not one rig off our coastline.”

He also alluded to his trip to space as a Congressman in 1986, a journey that earned a spot forever in NASA’s manifest of astronauts.

“As a country, we need to continue to launch rockets and explore the heavens. I have seen the blue brilliance of the earth from the edge of the heavens.  And I will fight on to save this planet, our homes and our cities, from the spreading plague of the greenhouse gases that infect our atmosphere, and play havoc with our weather, and risks the planet our children and grandchildren will inherit.”

While being called the last of the Florida moderates, he touted a record of progressive votes in Washington.

“Every single one of us needs to keep fighting to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, for the generations that are there and to come.  It’s your Medicare, it’s your Social Security; you pay into those programs. They belong to you, and not to the politicians who are plotting to rob your retirement.

“I will continue to fight on and on for the inalienable human rights that are the soul and glory of the American experiment: civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the sacred right to vote.”

And he made reference to the recount that marked this dramatic end to his Senate career.

“We must end all forms of voter suppression, make it easier for Americans to vote, and honor the ideal that we are governed by the majority and not by the minority rule.”

As for his future, he left unclear whether he has another political run in him but said he would not bow out of public life.

“Yes, I will continue to fight hard for what’s right, and I will also encourage others to seek common ground with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

“Inevitably, at times, that effort will fall short. But we have to try. We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy; where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and the free press is assaulted as the ‘enemy of the people.’

“There’s been a gathering darkness in our politics in recent years. My hope today can be found in the words of John F. Kennedy, who said civility can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.

“Thank you, all. God bless you, and God bless our country.”

Nelson’s concession immediately drew comments from both sides of the political aisle

Republican President Donald Trump congratulated Scott.

“From day one Rick Scott never wavered. He was a great Governor and will be even a greater Senator in representing the People of Florida. Congratulations to Rick on having waged such a courageous and successful campaign!” he tweeted.

Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo praised Nelson’s record of service. “

“Senator Bill Nelson has led with integrity, humility, courage, and vision – always putting the best interests of Floridians first. From fighting for better schools and health care, to protecting our environment – Senator Nelson has always stood for what is right. Florida is better because of his leadership,” she said.
“We want to thank Senator Nelson for his years of service, and his leadership to our party. The sacrifices he made to serve this state, and our nation, will not be in vain.”

Elias, with the recount behind him, also said kind words about Nelson. “I am incredibly proud of Senator Nelson. Representing him has been an honor. During the recount, the margin narrowed but did not close. Thank you to the election officials for their diligence, and the volunteers and staff who worked to ensure that every lawful vote counted.”

Chris King, the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate this year, said, “Because of Senator Nelson, Florida families enjoy beaches and coasts free of oil rigs, and our children still dream of touching the stars. Thank you, Senator, for your public service.”

Nikki Fried claims victory as Matt Caldwell eyes South Florida totals

Democrat Nikki Fried declared victory once again in Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner race.

“I’m honored to serve as your next Commissioner of Agriculture. Now, we come together and work in union to govern for the people of Florida,” Fried said today on Twitter.

But officials with Republican Matt Caldwell’s campaign say he’s waiting on controversy in two South Florida counties to settle.

Florida elections officials were required today to submit results of a manual tabulation of over- and undervotes to the Florida Division of Elections today.

The state now reports Fried won 4,032,954 votes to Caldwell’s 4,026,201 statewide, a difference of 6,753 votes or 0.08 percent.

But that recount doesn’t reflect any change in Palm Beach County, which has yet to begin its hand recount in the Agriculture Commissioner race.

A judged directed officials in Palm Beach to complete the smaller Florida House District 89 recount ahead of the Agriculture Commissioner contest.

Caldwell officials don’t plan to make any announcements regarding the race until every significant election dispute gets settled.

Officials also argue with a decision for a machine recount of the race to use the original totals in some counties, most notably Broward County, which reportedly misplaced more than 2,000 votes between the initial tabulation and a machine recount.

Based on media reports of the machine recount totals, it could cut Fried’s lead by more than 1,100 votes based on Broward totals alone if the second count was used in the state’s official total.

And Caldwell’s legal team, which sued the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office, contends officials in that county accepted 6,873 vote-by-mail ballots logged in after polls closed on Election Day.

Still, even if those votes were removed, those ballots would need to have favored Fried overwhelmingly. Fried won the vote in Broward with just over 69 percent of the vote.

For his part, Caldwell himself took to Twitter yesterday only to suggest he would continue his campaign tour of Florida.

“While the tempest rages on, it’s refreshing to get back on the #2lanetravels and visit our friends at the Richloam General Store,” he wrote.

But in Fried’s statement today, she appeared ready to put the election in the rearview mirror.

“To everyone who put their lives on hold and worked to see the recount process through, to protect the integrity of our democracy—thank you.”

Florida finished its hand recount. Here’s how it turned out.

A complete hand recount of a close U.S. Senate race and an even tighter Agriculture Commissioner contest ultimately produced no change in outcome.

Election officials in Florida’s 67 counties faced a noon deadline today to submit results of a manual recount on two statewide races separated by less than a 0.25 percent.

In the high-profile Senate race, Republican Rick Scott ultimately received 4,099,505 to Democrat Bill Nelson’s 4,089,472. That’s a divide of just 10,033, or 0.12 percent of more than 8.1 million votes cast.

A machine recount of the race put Scott at 4,097,689 and Nelson at 4,085,086, a lead of 12,603. But while each lead of the race has tightened the margin, Scott remains the leader.

Scott this morning called on Nelson to concede the race.

“Be remembered as the statesman who graciously conceded after 42-years of public service,” Scott’s campaign said in a statement, “or be remembered as the sore loser who refused to face the people he served.”

Nelson’s campaign said the senator will make a public statement today at 3 p.m.

As for the Agriculture Commissioner race, Democrat Nikki Fried ultimately won 4,032,954 to Republican Matt Caldwell’s 4,026,201. That’s just 6,753 votes, or 0.08 percent of the vote.

The machine recount showed Fried at 4,024,666 and Caldwell at 4,029,973, a lead of 5,307.

But the manual recount grew her lead to its largest point yet.

Both races, though, remain the subject of ongoing litigation.

Nelson, the three term incumbent, fought successfully to have a deadline extended for voters to contact elections supervisors about signatures on mail-in ballots. That deadline passed last night at 5 p.m.

Caldwell continues to seek answers on why Broward County counted some 80,000 ballots after Election Day. His attorneys contended in court last week that Broward officials counted thousands of votes received after polls closed.

Hand recounts also were ordered in two state House races and a state Senate race.

In Florida Senate District 18, Democrat Janet Cruz appeared to edge incumbent state Sen. Dana Young, holding a 382-vote lead following completion of a hand recount in Hillsborough County.

In Florida House District 26, Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff holds a 61-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Patrick Henry.

Meanwhile, in Florida House District 89, Republican Mike Caruso held a 32-vote lead over Democrat Jim Bonfiglio.

There, Jim Bonfiglio had sued Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to count his race ahead of the Agriculture Commissioner contest.

Donna Shalala on Nancy Pelosi: ‘I’m with Her’

U.S. Rep.-elect Donna Shalala made clear on ABC News’ This Week she would support Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House.

“This is not forever,” Shalala said. “But right now, at this time in this transition, for the next two years, I’m with her.”

Shalala spoke as part of a panel of five incoming Democratic congresswomen. Host Martha Raddatz asked all the women is they would support Pelosi for Speaker once the new Congress gets sworn in.

New Jersey Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger said no, praising Pelosi as a “trailblazer” while suggesting Washington needs new people leading conversations.

But Shalala dug in and defended Pelosi, who previously served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011.

“Look at what the job is,” Shalala told Raddatz. “It’s a little bit of herding cats, and it’s a little bit of keeping a Democratic party full of lots of different points of view.”

But with Republican Donald Trump in the White House, Shalala stressed a Democratic Speaker will need to be poised for a tenuous relationship with the administration.

“I think Nancy has demonstrated time and time again that she has a backbone,” Shalala said. “She;ll stand up to a president.”

But the Miami Democrat said fights with the White House cannot be the only consequence of Democrats retaking the chamber in the mid-terms. When Raddatz asked about the potential to impeach the president, all the panelists including Shalala said their election wasn’t about that issue.

“Of course, we want to hold this administration accountable,” Shalala said. “But at the same time, we need to deal with the health issues; we need to deal with the environmental issues.”

Shalala and other panelists also discussed the record number of women in the House this year.

Raddatz noted while Shalala comes into the House for her first term, she’s no stranger to Washington. Shalala from 1993 to 2000 served as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, the entirety of his administration.

“I’m a freshman but I’m no rookie,” she said. “People in the halls who work here say ‘Welcome back’ because they remember when I was here as a Cabinet officer.

“But I also think this was a revolution.”

Elizabeth Fetterhoff clings to 61-vote lead after hand recount

With a manual recount complete, Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff maintained her narrow edge over Democrat Patrick Henry is Florida House District 26.

Volusia County elections officials report the manual recount concluded, and Fetterhoff ultimately received 30,610 votes to the Democratic incumbent’s 30,549, an 61-vote lead, or 0.1 percent of votes cast.

The count remains close enough that a dispute over absentee ballots rejected for bad signatures could still impact totals.

And Volusia County has not yet reported tabulation of military and overseas votes, which were allowed to arrive in Florida elections offices as late as 10 days after the election. While that deadline has passed, only Franklin County thus far has tabulated those votes.

The race was one of six state elections requiring a manual recount this year. State law mandates a machine recount of votes when less than a 0.5 percent margin separates candidates. A manual recount of under- and overvotes occurs if m

The original tabulation of votes in HD 26 showed Fetterhoff leading by 59 votes, with Fetterhoff getting 30,591 to Henry’s 30,352.

The manual recount closed that gap to 54 votes, with Fetterhoff at 30,599 and Henry at 30,545.

But the manual recount found more votes for Fetterhoff than Henry, allowing the Republican to surge to her 61-vote margin now.

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis released the final manual count Thursday evening.

But Lewis told the Daytona Beach radio station WNDB she must wait until at least until 5 p.m. today to allow any voters concerned about their absentee ballots getting rejected to contact the elections office.

“We initially mailed out a letter containing an affidavit to these voters giving them the opportunity to correct their signature,” Lewis said. “The voter simply needed to return the signed affidavit to cure their ballot.”

Presuming the lead holds, Fetterhoff’s win will mean Volusia County’s entire Florida House delegation will be made up of Republicans, according to WNDB.

With recount completed, Andrew Gillum concedes—again

Democrat Andrew Gillum formally conceded the race for Florida Governor for a second time.

Standing alongside wife, R. Jai, in a Facebook Live video and wearing an jacket for his alma mater Florida A&M University, the Tallahassee mayor formally brought to a close one of the most dramatic gubernatorial elections in state history.

“This has been the journey of our lives,” Gillum said.

The video (available below) posted shortly before 5 p.m., a symbolic acknowledgement that thousands of vote-by-mail ballots that could still be entered into state totals if verified by that time held no potential to close a gap of more than 30,000 votes separating Gillum from Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

Setting a conciliatory tone, Gillum wished his opponent well.

“R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great State of Florida,” Gillum said.

The concession came hours after Republican President Donald Trump praised Gillum as a “strong Democrat warrior” and “a force to reckon with.”

Gillum later tweeted similar sentiments to DeSantis, who responded with a conciliatory tone as well.

“This was a hard-fought campaign,” DeSantis wrote. “Now it’s time to bring Florida together.”

Gillum first conceded on Election Day as returns across the state showed DeSantis ahead.

But as late returns counted over the next two days put the race within a 0.5 percent margin, that triggered a machine recount for the Governor’s race and two other statewide contests.

That led Gillum to retract his initial concession.

In the following days, attorneys for Gillum closely watched recount proceedings as the Democrat toured the state encouraging the counting of every vote. Supporters for DeSantis and Gillum clashed in major protests outside elections offices in Broward County, where national media captured the friction of video.

The gubernatorial contest, though, was the least close of the three major races. The initial tabulation of the votes put DeSantis up 33,684, or 0.41 percent of more than 8.2 million votes cast.

After a machine recount, the gap shrank by one, to 33,683 votes.

While Gillum encouraged voters straight into Saturday to make sure their vote-by-mail ballots did not get rejected in error, he ultimately conceded minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline for voters to contact election officials.

Gillum said in his Facebook video, though, that his own fight for progressive values would not end with this race.

“Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle,” he said.

“More than 4 million of you decided you wanted a different direction for the state of Florida… Your voices will continue to power us as we stand at the front lines right alongside you to make this a state that works for all of us.”

Gillum said he would still champion progressive issues as a private citizen. His first priority, though, will be on demanding Florida’s election systems be modernized so avoid the protracted and at times uncertain confusion about the election results this year.

“We need to update Florida’s election system and bring it into the 21st century,” he said.

Gillum had been a surprise Democratic nominee, surging just ahead ahead of the August primary on a platform endorsed by Bernie Sanders and embraced by the far-left of his party.

While Gillum lost, he championed passage of Amendment 4, which passed and will automatically restore voting rights for 1.6 million Floridians previously convicted of felonies.

The Democratic leader, who drew national interest in Florida’s gubernatorial contest, said his candidacy representing the start, not an end, to a progress movement in the state. He encouraged supporters to continue demanding change.

“You win that, yes in many cases through elections, but you also win that through the dedicated, committed and hard work that’s required to transform communities, to transform neighborhoods, to transform the state of Florida,” he said.

Democrats praised Gillum quickly upon his concession.

“You captured our moral imagination and called on us to remember that in Florida and our nation, great leaders don’t divide or demean but seek to unite and elevate all,” wrote New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an early supporter of Gillum, wrote: “You inspired a generation to for fairness and equality and softened the soil for the next progressive champion to fight for a Florida that deserves better. I’m ready for your next journey whatever that may be.”

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro wrote: “He ran with class, integrity and a positive vision for the future that inspired millions of people in Florida and beyond. Great things ahead.”

State Rep.-elect Anna Eskamani praised Gillum and running mate Chris King for running “one of the most inspirational campaigns our state has ever seen.” “No matter who our Governor is, know that I am fighting for hardworking families everywhere,” she added.

Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo echoed the sentiment. “ are incredibly proud of you. Looking forward to continuing the fight with you,” she wrote.

Rizzo later released a lengthy statement praising Gillum’s run. “We could not be more proud of Mayor Gillum and Chris King for running a historic campaign, that inspired millions and gave people hope for a better Florida. We are grateful for the sacrifices you both made to run for Governor, and Florida is better because of your candidacies. We look forward to continuing the fight with you, and will keep working toward your vision to bring it home.”

And Tom Perez, Democratic National Committee chairman, suggested Gillum still had a bright future in politics. Perez wrote that Gillim “ran an inspiring campaign that energized millions of Floridians & sparked hope across the Sunshine State. He refused to get in the gutter with his opponent, & he never gave in to the politics of fear and division. Thank you for fighting the good fight.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris suggested as much in her own post, asserting Gillum’s “campaign inspired millions of people not just in Florida but across the country to create change in their communities. I know we haven’t seen the last of him.

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy said she was proud to stand with Gillum and King. “Both of you, along with R. Jai, Kristen, & your beautiful families, led by such example and handled it with grace,” she tweeted. “Thank you.”

State Rep. Shevrin Jones remarked that Gillum still made history as Florida’s first black nominee for a major party, done at the same Stacey Abrams ran as Georgia’s first black woman to be a nominee and as Ben Jealous ran for governor in Maryland. “Regardless of the outcome, history was still made, and I am happy to say that I was part of it,” Jones wrote.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson made reference to the historic group of governor candidates as well. “You are all brilliant trailblazers who God has placed on a path to greatness. This is just the BEGINNING! KEEP STANDING!”

The Kiss-off: Donald Trump dubs Andrew Gillum strong warrior—in the ‘future’

President Donald Trump may have just directed his most damaging tweet yet at Democrat Andrew Gillum. He paid him a compliment.

“Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida,” Trump tweeted.

“He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future—a force to reckon with!”

While the tone read uncharacteristically kind, the grammar was decided past tense, serving as the latest and loudest of political assessments on the state of Florida’s gubernatorial race.

Namely, it’s over, whether Gillum concedes soon or not.

As President Trump’s words turned gentle, those of fellow Democrats grew increasingly loud. A growing number of leaders within Gillum’s party suggest in less subtle ways each day that this race is done.

“Every minute Andrew Gillum doesn’t concede at this point he looks worse and worse (or at least he does to me),” Democratic consultant Matthew Isbell tweeted Thursday. “It’s over. Move on.”

The gubernatorial vote this year did turn out historically close. Republican Ron DeSantis led Gillum by 33,683 votes after a machine recount, about 0.41 percent of more than 8.2 million ballots cast.

But the machine recount netted Gillum just one vote, and the margin, while close, wasn’t enough to trigger a hand recount, unlike the five other state elections that went to machine recount.

Gillum himself yesterday continued to urge voters to check on their absentee ballots. A lawsuit connected to the U.S. Senate recount led a judge to grant voters until 5 p.m. to verify their ballots.

But attorneys for the Division of Electionssay some 3,688 vote-by-mail ballots and 93 provisional ballots got rejected statewide for bad signatures. That’s not enough to make a meaningful difference in the gubernatorial election.

Gillum spokesman Kevin Cate stressed yesterday that the push to count every vote is about more than finding a path to the governor’s mansion for Gillum. “The @AndrewGillum campaign was doing something much bigger than just trying to win an election,” he tweeted. “And we did. And we still are.”

And Gillum has until the end of the month to challenge the election results.

DeSantis yesterday called results of the machine recount “clear and unambiguous,” and he marked the end of the recount by inviting Gillum to join him for a “conversation about the future of our great state.”

The only question still outstanding in the Governor’s race may be when Gillum feels ready for the talk—and when he finally speaks he will, once again, concede.

Broward County hand recount nets little for Bill Nelson

With a hand recount of U.S. Senate votes in Broward County complete, Democrat Bill Nelson netted less than 300 votes, according to Republican Rick Scott’s campaign.

That’s bad news for the Democrat, who hoped the examination of some 32,000 undervotes in the heavily Democratic County would help close a 12,603-vote deficit in the election.

Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris on Saturday tweeted that Nelson picked up 410 new votes in the hand recount of undervotes, while Scott won an additional 136 votes. That’s a 274-vote gain for Nelson from Broward County.

Scott held a 0.15-percent lead on Nelson after a machine recount of votes in every county concluded earlier this week. That’s small enough to trigger a hand recount, required be Florida law should raced come down to less than a 0.25 margin.

Nelson’s team counted on a big return from Broward County, where nearly 25,000 fewer votes were cast for U.S. Senate than for governor, a statistical anomaly.

While a number of people blame a design flaw in the Broward County ballot, which placed the Senate race in a column underneath voter instructions while the governor’s race topped the center column of the ballot, Nelson attorney Marc Elias previously argued it was more likely a machine calibration problem.

Elias had hoped a recount would find thousands of votes for Senate in the county, where Nelson won nearly 69 percent of the votes already counted.

With the hand recount done, however, the vast majority of some 34,000 undervotes in the county were simply left blank by voters.

That realization dashes Democrats’ greatest hope for a different outcome in the Senate race, but Nelson’s campaign this week did win a lawsuit allowing voters whose vote-by-mail ballots were rejected based on mismatched signatures to challenge the decision.

Voters have until 5 p.m. today to contact election supervisors and confirm the legitimacy of their votes.

Additionally, most election supervisors have yet to report a count on military and overseas vote-by-mail ballots. State law allows those votes to come in as much as 10 days after the election so long as the ballots were postmarked before the conclusion of the race.

But those votes typically break for Republicans.

Pam Bondi dubs reports of upcoming Mar-A-Lago meeting as ‘fake news’

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi disputed news she would meet with President Donald Trump in Mar-A-Lago over Thanksgiving to discuss a potential nomination for the U.S. Attorney General position.

“The attorney general says that is fake news,” Bondi spokesman Whitney Ray said in an email to News Service of Florida on Friday.

The denial comes after her name popped up in media reports as a possible replacement for former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump asked to resign immediately after the midterms.

Almost immediately, Bondi arose as one of the more prominent potential choices to succeed Sessions.

McClatchy reported on Friday that Trump plans to host Bondi at Mar-A-Lago for a meeting when he vacations there for Thanksgiving.

The news organization says three administration sources confirm Trump is “seriously considering” Bondi for Attorney General. Notably, Bondi did not respond to calls from that news organization before its report.

Mention of Bondi’s name for the post immediately reignited controversy about a $25,000 donation made by the Trump Foundation to Bondi’s re-election campaign in 2013. Ultimately, the donation, which was illegal for the charitable foundation to make, resulted in a fine for Trump to the IRS.

Bondi herself came under scrutiny because the donation came around the same time her office elected not to pursue an investigation of Trump University.

This isn’t the first time media speculated whether Bondi would play a role in Trump’s administration. Trump named her as part of his transition team’s executive committee, along with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also rumored as a choice for U.S. Attorney General then and now.

She took a meeting Manhattan with Trump while he assembled his initial cabinet. At that time, she told the USA Today ““I’m very happy being attorney general of the state of Florida right now.”

But that was in 2016, two years before the end of her term as Florida Attorney General. Now, her term ends within weeks. Attorney General-elect Ashley Moody will be sworn into the office in January, along with the new Governor and other Cabinet members.

So Bondi no longer holds any professional obligations in the Sunshine State.

But Trump may not be the only New Yorker blowing up her phone. In August. Bondi sought Florida Commission of Ethics clearance before a three-day stint co-host “The Five” on Fox News, fueling speculation she might take on a full-time job on the network after her term expires.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons