Days after the midterm elections concluded, the fallout is continuing to take shape. In Florida on election night this past Tuesday, Democrats ended up disappointed at coming in just behind their Republican challenger in every statewide race — until now. Late Thursday, Democrat Nikki Fried ended up with a narrow lead over Republican Matt Caldwell of just under 3,000 votes — 2,914 to be exact — after she’d previously been trailing by some 4,000 in her bid to become the state’s Ag Commissioner.
Her losing margin was originally the smallest for a Democrat in a statewide race, although two other prominent contests have thin margins of their own. In the race to be Florida’s next governor, at present, Republican Ron DeSantis leads by around 36,000 votes in a race where well over eight million were cast. The margin translates to a roughly 0.4 percent difference. Similarly, in the contest for incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson’s U.S. Senate seat, Republican — and outgoing governor — Rick Scott leads by some 15,000 votes, which translates to a 0.2 percent lead.
Under Florida state law, recounts are required if finishing margins in races are under 0.5 percent — meaning at present, although it’s not official yet, it appears as though three statewide races are heading for a recount. The recount efforts have to be completed in under one week — by Thursday, to be exact — following the Saturday deadline for counties to report their initial vote totals.
It’s in those county level vote totals that Democrats have found their losing margins shrinking — and in Fried’s case, disappearing. Down in south Florida, Broward County has been late to report some of its vote totals — sparking a lawsuit from Rick Scott in his capacity as a Senate candidate and the National Republican Senatorial Committee that also targets Palm Beach county. Scott has also ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections officials including Broward’s elections supervisor Brenda Snipes.
National Republicans including President Donald Trump himself have gotten on board with Scott’s criticism, directly claiming in at least one case that Democrats are faking some of these late counted votes and implying that such is their position plenty of other times.
‘Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in
#Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!’
In similar fashion, the Republican Ag Commissioner candidate’s lawyer Brian Swensen asserted:
‘Matt Caldwell will be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture and the will of the voters will be upheld.’
The two parts of that sentence, though, are mutually exclusive. He can’t belligerently assert his boss will win in the end no matter what — and that he will respect whatever the will of the majority of Florida voters is. There’s no evidence of any faked votes and that Democratic margins shrinking — in his case disappearing — represents anything other than the “will of the voters.”
For now, a waiting period gets underway while the seemingly inevitable recounts proceed. Florida isn’t the only state with late changes to their vote totals — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema suddenly found herself ahead of Republican challenger Martha McSally by nearly 10,000 votes Thursday. That translates to a leading margin of 0.5 percent.
In other words, again — every vote counts.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot