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Gillum retracts concession as Florida gov and Senate races head to recounts

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By Ali Vitali and Kalhan Rosenblatt

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A statewide machine recount has been ordered by the Florida secretary of state, Ken Detzner, for three hotly contested races, officials announced Saturday.

The recount will include the races for senator, governor, and commissioner of agriculture, Detzner’s office said.

Results of the recount are due no later than 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 15.

After the announcement, the Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, said he was “replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote,” in a tweet posted Saturday afternoon.

“This has been a difficult election process for all of us … this process is not over until every single vote is counted,” Gillum said at a news conference on Saturday, adding he is prepared to accept whatever the outcome of the recount might be as long as all votes are counted.

Former Rep. Ron DeSantis currently has 33,000 more votes than Gillum, a margin of 0.41 percent.

DeSantis is proceeding as if he won the election, appointing a transition team and preparing to take office in January. In a statement on Saturday, DeSantis said that the results of the election were “clear and unambiguous, just as they were on Election Night, and I am honored by the trust that Floridians have placed in me to serve as your next governor.”

“I want to express my appreciation to the supervisors, the canvassing boards, and the staffs for working hard to ensure that all lawful votes are counted in this election,” he added. “It is important that everyone involved in the election process strictly adhere to the rule of law which is the foundation for our nation.”

On Saturday, all 67 Florida counties had returned their unofficial results to Tallahassee. Included in that was Broward County, which has been the epicenter of controversy over the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott.

“We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process,” Nelson said in a statement following the announcement. “We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election.”

Scott leads Nelson, who never conceded, by just over 12,000 votes or .15 percent.

Scott declared victory Tuesday night, but many organizations, including NBC News, have said the race is too close to call.

“The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory,” said Chris Hartline, a spokesperson for Scott’s campaign. “The margin of victory is larger than any recount since 2000 has ever closed, with the average recount changing the outcome by just a few hundred votes. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount.”

At approximately 1 a.m. ET on Wednesday, just hours after the polls closed, Scott led Nelson by approximately 55,000 votes, but as counties continued to count their votes, the difference shrunk to a razor-thin margin.

It is not uncommon for election officials to continue counting ballots, such as mail-in and provisional, following Election Day.

But the battle for Nelson’s Senate seat has been heated, with both sides filing lawsuits and trading verbal jabs.

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