Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) withdrew his concession to Republican candidate Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE in the Florida gubernatorial race on Saturday as a recount in the state begins.
“I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said at a press conference.
“And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change,” he added.
The announcement comes after the Florida secretary of state ordered recounts in Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate races on Saturday.
Unofficial results showed Gillum and DeSantis separated by roughly 0.41 points, within the margin necessary to trigger a machine recount.
Gillum initially conceded the race on Tuesday after returns showed him trailing by 1 point. That margin narrowed considerably, however, as new vote totals came in from Broward and Palm Beach counties on Thursday and Friday, putting the race in recount territory.
The Democrat said Saturday that since election night “more information has come in, more information has become available around the votes, around the votes that are still outstanding and really for our need to ensure in this process that every vote be counted.”
“What I do know is that every single Floridian who took time to go out to cast their vote, to participate in this process deserve the comfort of knowing that in a Democratic society and in this process, every vote will be counted,” he added.
Gillum also ripped comments by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, Senate GOP candidate Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Georgia officials launch investigation after election day chaos | Senate report finds Chinese telecom groups operated in US without proper oversight Republican Senators ask FCC to ‘clearly define’ when social media platforms should receive liability protections Trump’s tweet on protester sparks GOP backlash MORE (R), who all criticized the recount effort and even suggested foul play was involved in the narrowing margin.
“I also have to say what has also changed since election night have been the chorus of voices from the president of the United States, the junior senator of the state of Florida and the governor of the state of Florida, a chorus calling for the ending of the counting in this process,” Gillum said.
“Now, what is their excuse for that? The best I can tell, I’m not sure. What I do know is that we don’t just get the opportunity to stop counting votes because we don’t like the direction in which the vote tally is headed. That is not democratic and that is certainly not the American way. In America, we count every vote regardless of what the outcome may mean.”
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to weigh in on the Florida races while traveling in France for the weekend for ceremonies commemorating the end of World War I. The president wrote in one tweet that Democrats were trying to “steal” the race.
“Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!” he wrote.
The comments came a day after Trump also questioned recount efforts in the Senate race.
“Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they ‘found’ many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. ‘The Broward Effect.’ How come they never find Republican votes?” the president tweeted Friday.
Scott also announced Thursday that he is suing Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, alleging that her office has withheld crucial voter information.
“The people of Florida deserve fairness and they deserve transparency and the supervisor of elections is refusing to give it to us,” Scott said.
“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election,” he added.
Gillum did not overlook the current parallels to the controversial recount in the 2000 presidential election that ultimately handed George W. Bush the White House.
“How we handle this election and this process will have reverberations for democracy for an entire generation of voters,” he said Saturday.
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