The states, which were letdowns for Democrats on the night they managed to regain control of the House, could see recounts
Democrats are still hoping for miracles in Florida and Georgia after disappointing midterm election results on Tuesday left them staring into the jaws of defeat in high-profile races that attracted attention across the nation and even internationally.
Although Democrats managed to regain control of the House of Representatives, the party was deeply disappointed by results in the swing state of Florida and its neighbor directly to the north, Georgia, known as the Peach state.
In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, vying to become America’s first female African American governor and cause an upset in the traditionally Republican state, appeared to have lost on election night but voiced her determination to make sure every vote was counted before confirming defeat. If Abrams keeps Republican Brian Kemp under the 50% threshold of votes she would force a runoff.
In Florida, incumbent senator Bill Nelson is talking about forcing a recount after losing to Rick Scott, the state’s governor, by less than the 0.5% margin needed to trigger an automatic recount. However, trailing by a margin of more than 30,000 votes, it may be too much for him to overcome.
Nelson called for stricter gun control after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February, including a ban on assault rifles.
The two states were distinct letdowns for Democrats on a night in which they won House seats on Republican terrain from Staten Island, in New York City, to Oklahoma.
The highly touted Abrams refused to concede her race on Wednesday morning insisting that “votes remain to be counted. There’s voices that are waiting to be heard.” While Democrats were bearish on an outright win in Georgia, they had been optimistic about the prospects for a runoff. However, results from the Associated Press on Wednesday evening gave Kemp 50.3% of the vote, a lead of 1.5% over Abrams.
The race had been marked by allegations that Kemp, who as Georgia secretary of state oversaw the election, had taken advantage of his position to suppress the vote, which he has denied. Kemp has already declared victory.
In Florida, Democrats had a disappointing night. Andrew Gillum, battling for the governorship in a contest that descended into a row about racism, reflecting many of the divisions across the country, lost and conceded on Tuesday night. He fell far short of the predictions in opinion polls before voting began, and appeared to have lost after heavy Republican turnout in the state’s northern Panhandle region.
Nelson also came up short. His race has yet to be called and he has refused to concede. Florida is known for its colorful recounts after the drama surrounding the 2000 presidential campaign between Al Gore and George W Bush where Bush eventually won the state by 537 votes, a margin that is 1/60th the size of that currently separating Nelson and Scott.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, Nelson, a three-term incumbent, said: “We are proceeding to a recount.” However, Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott, said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “This race is over. It’s a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists.”