Florida finds familiar territory with allegations of voter fraud and accusations of voter suppression dashing between Republicans and Democrats as the state prepares for an election recount.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Saturday ordered a machine recount, which includes three key races: Florida governor, Florida agriculture commissioner and U.S. Senate.
U.S. & World
"Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!" President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday after the recount was announced.
Trump on Friday said that Broward County "miraculously started finding Democrat votes" after Democrats sent Marc Elias – "their best Election stealing lawyer."
"Don’t worry, Florida - I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!" Trump wrote.
Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate who in the first unofficial results was ahead of Andrew Gillum by a margin of 0.41 percent, released a video statement on Saturday in which he said he was preparing to serve as Florida's governor
DeSantis – described in the video as the "governor-elect" – said Florida voters chose him to lead, citing "clear and unambiguous" results.
"It is important that everyone involved in the election process strictly adhere to the rule of law, which is the foundation for our nation. Since the election a few days ago, we have begun our transition efforts to build an administration that can secure Florida's future," DeSantis said. "With the election behind us, it's now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians."
Rick Scott's campaign spokesman, Chris Hartline, released a statement in which he said Scott won a "close but decisive victory" with a 0.15 percent margin.
"It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of ... Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount," Hartline wrote.
“Instead of wasting time and resources by trying to steal an election, Bill Nelson and his liberal activists should face the facts," Hartline wrote in another statement.
Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate for Florida agriculture commissioner, said he filed a lawsuit against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to "hold her accountable, follow Florida law and uphold the integrity of our elections."
Though Caldwell was initially leading on Election Day, Democratic candidate Nikki Fried surpassed Caldwell in the first unofficial results and holds a lead of 0.06 percent.
Despite accusations of wasting taxpayer dollars and voter fraud, Democrats are not backing down and are even suggesting or outright accusing Republicans of attempts to suppress votes.
"I am replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote," Gillum said in a press conference.
"This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy," Nelson wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., who endorsed and campaigned with Gillum, also called for every vote to be counted.
"No surprise. Law enforcement says Rick Scott’s allegation of voter fraud was not based in reality. He and Trump are just trying to undermine the results if he loses," Sanders wrote on Twitter.
Soon after the first unofficial results were released, Fried said that her campaign was "confident that once the votes were counted we would win the Agriculture Commissioner race!"
"Now that the deadline has come & the votes have been processed, the people’s will is clear – I’m honored to serve as Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture," Fried wrote on Twitter.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who serves in Florida's District 24, said that Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio "are making reckless and unfounded accusations about the midterm election in an attempt to prevent every vote from being counted. What are they afraid of?"
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it has not launched an investigation into alleged voter fraud. The Florida Divison of Elections, which is under the supervision of Scott, said observers in Broward County saw no evidence of criminal activity.