Politics

Bill Nelson, Down Less than 35,000 Votes in Florida, Waiting for Recount

GOP opponent Rick Scott characterizes effort as ‘a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career’

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is waiting for a state law-mandated recount in his race against Florida Gov. Rick Scott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who reportedly conceded defeat just after midnight in his re-election bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott, is now awaiting a recount.

“We are proceeding to a recount,” Nelson, the Democrat who is seeking a fourth term, said in a statement Wednesday.

Nelson trailed Scott by 34,537 with all of Florida’s precincts reporting by Wednesday morning. More than 8.1 million people cast votes in the race.

Florida state law requires a recount if the vote is within half a percentage point. Scott’s lead over Nelson is 0.4 percent with some absentee and provisional ballots still awaiting processing and reporting.

Scott’s campaign characterized Nelson’s apparent backtrack on his concession as a desperate move to cling to power.

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

The Associated Press has not called the Florida Senate election for Scott, one of three such races in the chamber along with Montana and Arizona.

Katherine Tully McManus contributed to this report.

Watch: Now That That’s Over (Mostly) Roll Call Looks Ahead to 2020

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.