Trump seeks end of Florida recount;
Democrats win Arizona Senate seat
Send a link to a friend
[November 13, 2018]
By Letitia Stein and Susan Heavey
TAMPA, Fla./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.
President Donald Trump on Monday urged Florida election officials to end
a recount and declare his fellow Republicans the winners of disputed
races in last week's elections, while Democrats picked up a U.S. Senate
seat in Arizona.
U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema declared victory and Republican
opponent Martha McSally conceded after multiple media outlets called the
closely contested Arizona race for the Democrat. Sinema will succeed
Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, who did not
The results will not affect Republican control of the 100-member Senate.
Republicans have won at least 51 seats and Democrats 47 in the
elections, with results in Florida and Mississippi still outstanding.
In Florida, leads by the Republican candidates in the races for a U.S.
Senate seat and the governor's office shrank as more ballots were
tallied following last Tuesday's elections. State law mandates recounts
in elections where the margin of victory is within 0.5 percentage point.
As Florida officials scrambled to review more than 8 million ballots by
Thursday, Trump, without providing evidence, cast doubt on the recount
Trump called for an end to the recount even though state rules allow
election officials to wait 10 days for absentee ballots submitted by
registered voters living outside the United States, including
active-duty military personnel.
A machine recount began over the weekend in the race between outgoing
Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Senator Bill
Nelson, with another recount under way for the Florida gubernatorial
race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum.
Republicans are eager to cement victories in a key battleground state
after maintaining their control of the U.S. Senate in last week's
congressional midterm elections, while Democrats are eyeing another
possible state governorship win. Each party accused the other of trying
to subvert democracy.
Scott on Sunday asked a Broward County judge to issue an emergency
injunction calling for law enforcement to seize all voting machines,
tallying devices and ballots when they are not being used until the end
of the recount and any related litigation.
'RAMP DOWN THE RHETORIC'
Broward County Circuit Judge Jack Tuter, who on Monday rejected Scott's
request for the emergency injunction, urged both sides to be restrained
in their public statements as the state faces a repeat of its dramatic
role in the 2000 U.S. presidential vote recount.
"I am urging because of the highly public nature of this case to ramp
down the rhetoric," Tuter said. "Wait until these counts are over and
there'll be time to litigate."
Trump repeated his complaints over the Florida races in a Twitter post
The president instead called on state authorities to go with the initial
vote count totals. Trump alleged voter fraud had taken place, but
provided no evidence.
[to top of second column]
Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema speaks to supporters after
officially winning the U.S. Senate race at the Omni Montelucia
resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S., November 12, 2018.
"The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and
Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of
nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote
count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with
Election Night!" he wrote.
Studies have found no evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the
United States, although courts have found evidence through the
nation's history of policies intended to suppress voting by
"The fact is that there is no evidence of fraud," said Marc Elias,
the lawyer representing Nelson's campaign in the recount. "Both
judges and the state law enforcement officials have said that."
Nelson on Monday called on Scott to recuse himself from playing any
role in overseeing the recount.
The Florida secretary of state's office said it had received reports
that election officials in Bay County, a Republican-leaning county
home to some 183,500 people that was hard hit by Hurricane Michael,
allowed some residents to cast ballots by email and fax. State law
makes no provision for voting in that way.
"Supervisors of elections are independently elected constitutional
officers and it is each supervisor's responsibility to adhere to the
law," state spokeswoman Sarah Revell said in an email.
Florida law gives local election officials until the Saturday after
an election to submit their first round of unofficial election
results. It is common for elections supervisors to process results
well after election night.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has said it will
review allegations of criminal fraud, has stated that it had no
Scott has said he won the Senate race even as the ballots are
tallied again, telling Fox News on Monday: "I want to make sure
there's a free and fair election. But there's laws. Comply with the
Georgia's gubernatorial race also remains undecided. Several U.S
House of Representative races are also still too close to call after
Democrats seized control of the House in last week's elections.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida, and Susan Heavey in
Washington; Additional reporting by Makini Brice, Mark Hosenball and
Lisa Lambert in Washington and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Editing by
Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.