Republican Ron DeSantis said he’s focused on transitioning into the governor’s mansion as new vote totals Thursday moved toward requiring a recount in this week’s gubernatorial election.
“I was honored Tuesday night to be elected 46th governor of the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement. “The results of the election were clear. I am now focused on the transition effort and will allow the legal efforts regarding the election to proceed, as is necessary, as the process unfolds.”
Amid a focus on Palm Beach and Broward counties as ballots continue to be counted, DeSantis’ lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum fell below 40,000 votes Thursday afternoon, putting it within the 0.5 percent margin that triggers a machine recount.
Gillum conceded the race in a phone call Tuesday night, when the unofficial results put DeSantis up by about 78,000 votes from among the 8.2 million ballots cast. But Thursday morning, as the margin narrowed, Gillum’s campaign said it made the call Tuesday “with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count.”
County canvassing boards are required to submit unofficial results by noon Saturday to the Florida Department of State, which will then announce which races require recounts. The races for U.S. Senate, agriculture commissioner, and three state legislative seats --- Senate District 18 in Hillsborough County, House District 26 in Volusia County and House District 89 in Palm Beach County --- are all expected to require recounts.
In the agriculture commissioner race, Democrat Nikki Fried was up Thursday afternoon by nearly 600 votes over Republican Matt Caldwell, while Republican Gov. Rick Scott was up a little more than 17,000 votes in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
On Wednesday, DeSantis named a transition team, which is being headed by Susie Wiles, a longtime political strategist who chaired his campaign. He also planned visits as “governor-elect” on Thursday to a Hialeah business and to the Florida Council of 100 in West Palm Beach.