Posted: 3:33 pm Tuesday, November 13th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
As elections supervisors continued with their recount of the votes in Florida’s race for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) returned to Capitol Hill and called for Gov. Rick Scott (R) to recuse himself from oversight of any new developments in Nelson’s race for re-election.
“Mr. Scott cannot oversee the process,” Nelson said to reporters just off the floor of the U.S. Senate. “People must have confidence in the integrity of the election.”
Flanked by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, Nelson said the goal was simple, “to make sure that every lawful vote” is counted.
Schumer said if that happens, “Senator Nelson has an excellent chance of being re-elected.”
Sen. Bill Nelson on Florida Senate recount: "This process is about one thing: making sure that every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy" https://t.co/HWmTA9RdEC pic.twitter.com/YAULxMckXf
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 13, 2018
After the initial count – which was dominated by charges that elections supervisors in Palm Beach and Broward counties had not followed Florida election law in how to deal with damaged ballots – Scott led Nelson by close to 13,500 votes.
Just as Nelson blasted Scott, the Governor’s campaign returned the fire as well on Tuesday.
“For them, this isn’t about following the law and it isn’t about having a free and fair election,” Scott’s campaign told reporters in a statement.
Scott was backed up again today by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who again claimed that lawyers for the Democratic Party were trying to “steal” the Florida elections for Senate and Governor, as Rubio also took aim at elections officials in Palm Beach and Broward counties in south Florida.
“Demanding they follow law isn’t effort to stop vote count, its effort to stop law breaking,” Rubio wrote in a series of stinging posts on Twitter.
Incompetent law breaking election officials lead to chance for lawyers to steal an election
Dem lawyers aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted. They’re here to get as many votes for their client as possible counted & get as many votes for opponent as possible thrown out
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 13, 2018
While the politicians and parties slugged it out in public, the work continued across Florida to recount the votes, as elections officials face a Thursday deadline.
While questions have been raised about whether Palm Beach and Broward counties can meet that, other county elections supervisors indicated they were making progress.
— Mike Hogan (@DuvalCountySOE) November 13, 2018
From two constituents who observed our Machine Recount: "I also want to give… all of the elections staff our thanks for an awesome job. If there was a picture of professionalism and excellence you would all be in it. You all made PASCO PROUD." #40%Rule
— Brian Corley SOE (@votepasco) November 13, 2018
— Orange County, FL SOE (@OCFElections) November 13, 2018
In Congress, both sides offered their vocal support to their candidate, as Republicans called for Nelson to concede defeat, while Democrats urged Nelson to fight on, and make sure all legal ballots are counted.
“What we’ve seen in Florida, and especially in Georgia, is a national disgrace,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).