Gillum retracts concession in Florida governor’s race

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) withdrew his concession to Republican candidate Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDozens of mail-in ballots sitting in Miami distribution center: report Florida prepares for bitter legal fight over votes Trump criticizes vote count in Arizona MORE in the Florida gubernatorial race on Saturday as a recount in the state begins.

“I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said at a press conference.

“And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change,” he added.

The announcement comes after the Florida secretary of state ordered recounts in Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate races on Saturday.

Unofficial results showed Gillum and DeSantis separated by roughly 0.41 points, within the margin necessary to trigger a machine recount.

Gillum initially conceded the race on Tuesday after returns showed him trailing by 1 point. That margin narrowed considerably, however, as new vote totals came in from Broward and Palm Beach counties on Thursday and Friday, putting the race in recount territory.

The Democrat said Saturday that since election night “more information has come in, more information has become available around the votes, around the votes that are still outstanding and really for our need to ensure in this process that every vote be counted.”

“What I do know is that every single Floridian who took time to go out to cast their vote, to participate in this process deserve the comfort of knowing that in a Democratic society and in this process, every vote will be counted,” he added.

Gillum also ripped comments by President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-White House counsel interviewed Whitaker about joining Trump’s legal team: report Flake slams Trump for doubting Arizona vote count: No evidence of ‘electoral corruption’ Comey talked about sensitive FBI matters on personal email: report MORE, Senate GOP candidate Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioScarborough: GOP trying to stop vote count in Florida is ‘third-world country stuff’ Teacher says she discovered ballot box left behind at Florida polling site White House-Acosta feud is talk of town MORE (R), who all criticized the recount effort and even suggested foul play was involved in the narrowing margin.

“I also have to say what has also changed since election night have been the chorus of voices from the president of the United States, the junior senator of the state of Florida and the governor of the state of Florida, a chorus calling for the ending of the counting in this process,” Gillum said.

“Now, what is their excuse for that? The best I can tell, I’m not sure. What I do know is that we don’t just get the opportunity to stop counting votes because we don’t like the direction in which the vote tally is headed. That is not democratic and that is certainly not the American way. In America, we count every vote regardless of what the outcome may mean.”

Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to weigh in on the Florida races while traveling in France for the weekend for ceremonies commemorating the end of World War I. The president wrote in one tweet that Democrats were trying to “steal” the race.

“Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!” he wrote. 

The comments came a day after Trump also questioned recount efforts in the Senate race.

“Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they ‘found’ many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. ‘The Broward Effect.’ How come they never find Republican votes?” the president tweeted Friday.

Scott also announced Thursday that he is suing Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, alleging that her office has withheld crucial voter information.

“The people of Florida deserve fairness and they deserve transparency and the supervisor of elections is refusing to give it to us,” Scott said.

“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election,” he added.

Gillum did not overlook the current parallels to the controversial recount in the 2000 presidential election that ultimately handed George W. Bush the White House.

“How we handle this election and this process will have reverberations for democracy for an entire generation of voters,” he said Saturday.

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