State of Division: Five FL races may be headed for recount, including U.S. Senate and Ag Commissioner

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Update: The numbers of votes in this race continue to change as elections officials continue their tallies. Please look back at the main Florida Phoenix website for the latest stories – and vote totals – in this race. 

There could be five recounts resulting from Tuesday night’s election in the Sunshine State, none bigger than in the race for U.S. Senate.

Though Republican Rick Scott declared himself the winner early Wednesday morning, Democratic incumbent U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson did not officially concede, and a review of the votes tallied to date make that clear why. The latest vote tallies show the race totals are within the 0.5 percent margin required to trigger an automatic recount.

“We are proceeding to a recount,” Nelson said Wednesday morning.

Florida’s election results are not yet officially tallied and certified. So campaigns are poring over the numbers in razor-thin races, watching fluctuations in state voting tallies as county Supervisors of Elections post new totals,  and deciding their next steps.

Four other statewide races look like they will also be subject to a recount, including the race for Agriculture Commissioner between Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nikki Fried. Fried has called for a recount. The unofficial results – which are constantly changing today as votes are counted – show Caldwell received 50.08% of the vote, and Fried 49.92%.

The next step in the process is for all 67 county supervisors of election to recheck vote tallies. In the campaign for U.S. Senate, the Nelson campaign says it is now contacting voters whose ballots were not counted due to a lack of ID or a matching address.

The Scott campaign dismissed Nelson’s call for a recount.

“This race is over,” said Scott spokesman Chris Hartline. “It’s a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold to something that no longer exists.”

Winning extremely close races is a Scott specialty. In the 2010 gubernatorial race, he eked out a victory over Democrat Alex Sink by just 1.2 percentage points. And in 2014, he beat Democrat Charlie Crist by just 1 point.

Three races for the Florida Legislature may be headed to recounts as well. In the most expensive state Senate race in Florida, Democrat Janet Cruz has a lead of just 289 votes, according to unofficial election results.

And there are two state House races too close to call.

In the House District 26 race in Volusia County, the latest unofficial vote tallies showed that Republican challenger Elizabeth Fetterhoff had just a 72-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Patrick Henry with more than 61,000 votes cast, a lead of 0.12%.

And in the open Florida’s House District 89 race in Palm Beach County, Republican Mike Caruso seemed to be clinging to a narrow lead over Democrat Jim Bonfiglio by just 234 votes.







Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.


  1. What is the likelihood that a “man in the middle” was used to swing the Governor’s, Ag, and Senate races in FL? This is the computer that switched votes during the 2004 Presiential race to provide a lead for Bush.


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