In a statement issued on Thursday, Florida’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum appeared to walk back his concession, as his campaign said it was now prepared for a recount.
Citing “many more outstanding ballots left to count,” Gillum’s campaign said it was “monitoring the situation closely.”
Gillum lost Tuesday’s close-knit race to his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, after a contentious battle that included accusations of racism and voter suppression.
As of Wednesday, polling had DeSantis leading Gillum by around 43,000 votes – only slightly over .525 of a percentage point.
According to Florida law, a recount is required in races in which the winning margin is .5 of a percentage point or less.
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) November 8, 2018
Andrew Gillum: “Let’s count every vote, and let’s bring it home.” pic.twitter.com/i1IR3oBrHr
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2018
Florida faced the prospect of recounts in the razor-thin races for governor and U.S. Senate, potentially prolonging the battle over two of this year’s most-closely watched campaigns.
In the governor’s race, Democrat Andrew Gillum’s campaign said Thursday it’s prepared for a possible recount. He conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Tuesday night, though the margin of the race has since tightened. As of Thursday afternoon, DeSantis held a lead of 0.47 percentage point over Gillum.
Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson has already started preparing for a potential recount in a race that remains too close to call against Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Nelson’s lawyer called that race a “jump ball” – though Scott’s campaign urged Nelson to concede. Scott held a 0.21 percentage lead over Nelson Thursday afternoon.
The tight races underscored Florida’s status as a perennial swing state where elections are often decided by the thinnest of margins. Since 2000, when Florida decided the presidency by 537 votes in a contest that took more than five weeks to sort out, the state has seen many close elections, but never so many dead heats in one year.
Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State, said she didn’t know of any other recount in a governor or Senate race in Florida history. She was researching the subject Thursday.
Under Florida law, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida’s secretary of state.