DeSantis holds lead over Gillum after recount

Republican Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report Lewandowski, Florida state senators tussle over Trump's influence on midterms: report Can the climate movement survive populism? Lessons from 'yellow vest' protests MORE maintained a narrow lead over Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum after most counties submitted results from a machine recount on Thursday, but one not close enough to trigger a hand recount.

The results of the recount in Florida's gubernatorial race showed DeSantis maintaining a lead over Gillum of about 0.41 points — larger than the threshold required for a hand recount. 

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner did not order a manual recount in the race.

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But Gillum did not concede and instead insisted that "tens of thousands of votes" remained to be counted. 

"As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted," Gillum said in a statement. "We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process."

In fact, election officials in Palm Beach were unable to meet the 3 p.m. deadline on Thursday after ballot-counting machines overheated and forced the county to fly in mechanics to repair them.

Likewise, in Hillsborough County, election officials did not submit unofficial results after the recount turned up 846 fewer ballots than the initial tally. 

Gillum conceded to DeSantis on election night after early returns showed the progressive Tallahassee mayor trailing the former congressman by a narrow, yet seemingly insurmountable, margin of around 1 percentage point.

But as newer vote counts trickled in from Democrat-heavy South Florida in the days that followed the election, DeSantis’s lead closed, forcing the race into an automatic machine recount and prompting Gillum to rescind his concession.

In recent days, Gillum, still appearing as if he was in campaign mode, paid visits to churches across the state to meet with supporters and call on election officials to “count every vote” in the race.

DeSantis, on the other hand, remained relatively quiet during the recount as he began his gubernatorial transition.

Meanwhile, two other statewide races that were also forced into recounts last week were still unsettled on Thursday after new returns showed the candidates within 0.25 points of one another — a margin close enough to trigger hand recounts. 

In Florida’s Senate, the machine recount showed incumbent Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMore than 6000 mail-in ballots in Florida were not counted: officials Rick Scott funded three-quarters of his Senate campaign, to tune of .6M Manchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives MORE (D) and Rick Scott, the state’s Republican governor, separated by an ultra-narrow margin, warranting a hand recount under state law.

Likewise, a manual recount was triggered in agriculture commissioner race between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell.

In manual recounts, not every ballot will be counted by hand. Instead, election officials will sort through so-called overvotes and undervotes — ballots where voters marked either more or fewer than the maximum number of selections allowed.

The recounts in Florida, particularly in the Senate race, have sparked a series of lawsuits and fierce political jockeying. Republicans raced to Scott’s defense as the process unfolded, suggesting voter fraud had taken place while accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election.

Meanwhile, Democrats cast the recount as a chance to make sure that every lawfully cast vote was counted.

They also threw up a number of legal challenges to Florida’s voting rules and procedures that they argued put undue and unconstitutional burdens on many voters.