In the governors race, the campaign of the Democratic candidate, Andrew Gillum, said it was preparing for a possible recount. He conceded to his Republican rival, Ron DeSantis, on Tuesday, although the race has since tightened. As of Thursday afternoon, DeSantis led Gillum by 0.47 of a percentage point.
The Democratic incumbent senator, Bill Nelson, has also begun preparing for a potential recount in a race still too close to call against the Republican Rick Scott, the outgoing governor.
The tight races underscored Floridas 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 resolve, the state has seen many close elections, but never so many dead heats in one year.
Scott said at a news conference on Thursday night that he was asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections offices in the Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward counties, questioning whether they were trying to inflate the Democratic vote.
Democrats — including Sen. Bill Nelsons reelection campaign — say there are still tens of thousands of as of yet uncounted ballots in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties, all of which are left-leaning.
Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum is open to a recount
Scotts campaign separately filed a lawsuit demanding that the Broward County supervisor of elections be ordered to turn over records detailing the counting and collection of ballots cast.
Nelsons campaign released a statement saying Scotts action appeared to be politically motivated.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted: Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!
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Under Florida law, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidates margin is less than 0.5 of a percentage point when the first unofficial count is verified on Saturday by Floridas secretary of state.
Gillums campaign said it was monitoring the situation with an elections lawyer and readying for a possible state-mandated recount. He hired the attorney Barry Richard, who represented George Bush in the 2000 recount.
On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported, the campaign said. We are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.
Read more DeSantis declined to discuss prospects for a recount, telling reporters he was very proud to be elected.
Elections officials in Broward County, where Democrats have a large advantage, were still reviewing ballots on Thursday.
Brenda Snipes, the Broward elections supervisor, said she did not know how many ballots remained to be counted, but all were being processed. She also did not know how many provisional, military and mismarked ballots needed to be counted.
Video: Key Florida races including governor, senator could come down to recount
The results of the 2018 Senate election are unknown and I think that you and the elections officials should treat it as such, Elias told reporters in a conference call. We believe that at the end of this process that Senator Nelson is going to be declared the winner.
Florida counties have until noon on Saturday to submit unofficial election results to the Florida Department of State. The secretary of state, Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee, will review the results and decide whether to order recounts.
But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is outraged that Florida election officials are going to double-check the results and make absolutely certain that the GOP won. As far as hes concerned, the whole thing is a plot by liberal-leaning Broward County election officials to steal the election — and he expounded on why he believes this in a six-part thread on Twitter:
Meanwhile, in Arizonas Senate race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took a minuscule lead of about 9,000 out of 1.9 million votes counted after trailing since Tuesday. The race remained too close to call with at least 400,000 ballots still uncounted.
Video: Possible recount in Floridas Senate race
Gillum statement stokes intrigue as Florida vote margin tightens
Florida Governor and Senate elect Rick Scott, unleashed lawsuits against Broward County and Palm Beach County while accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election.
Video: Florida Senate Race Headed To Recount
Gillum Rescinds Concession: Many More Uncounted Ballots Than Was Originally Reported
Both the senate seat Scott thought was his on Tuesday night, and the Governors spot that looked all but won by Republican Ron DeSantis are both now within the margin of error for a recount.
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Andrew Gillum campaign says its ready for any outcome, including a recount | WJAX-TV
Scott believed he won over the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, however, during a press conference Thursday night, after his Senate campaign sued Broward County and Palm Beach County elections officials to turn over records regarding how ballots are being counted, Scott said: The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us.
Closer and closer: Scott leads by .18 percent, DeSantis by .44
The lawsuit was filed about the same time Scott ordered state law enforcement officials to investigate the Broward and Palm Beach voting operation.
But that doesnt mean these races in Florida arent close enough to become part of that statistic. Based on the numbers so far, there are a couple of reasons Democrats have hope in Florida: 1) Not all the votes have been counted — and those that remain to be counted are in Democratic strongholds; 2) the margins are so small that provisional ballots could have an impact here, and they often go toward Democrats.
A spokesperson for Nelson bristled at Scotts legal maneuvering, telling CNN The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scotts action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.
Senator elect Rick Scott sued Broward County and Palm Beach County election officials Thursday night alleging there could be rampant fraud in the counties ballot-counting process
Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis Florida governors race appears headed to a recount
As ballots were still being counted in Palm Beach and Broward counties, the gap closed between Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson (pictured)