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The Latest: Embattled Florida elections official to resign

A volunteer looks over ballots during the hand count at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Florida’s election recount (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

A local media report says an embattled county elections official in Florida will be resigning early next year.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported late Sunday that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes had turned in her resignation letter earlier in the day. The report cited an attorney who works as counsel to the Broward elections office, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, as saying Snipes is to step down from her post in January.

Snipes has been the top elections official in the south Florida county since 2003 when then-Gov. Jeb Bush appointed her. She came under withering criticism for her handling of this year’s elections in the populous county as well as its legally required recount in close races for governor and U.S. Senate.

On Saturday, Snipes acknowledged that her office had misplaced more than 2,000 ballots during the recount.

She couldn’t immediately be reached late Sunday for comment on the report.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has the power to remove Snipes from office, was among those sharply critical of Snipes.

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3:45 p.m.

U.S. Sen Bill Nelson says in giving up his re-election bid that “things worked out a little differently than … I had hoped.”

The veteran Capitol Hill Democrat conceded his razor-thin race Sunday to Republican Rick Scott with a video statement on the same day Florida’s counties had to submit their official results from a sometimes bumpy recount. Those results showed the three-term incumbent had trailed Scott by more than 10,000 votes.

Nelson says in the statement that “It has been a rewarding journey as well as a very humbling experience.”

“I was not victorious in this race but I still wish to strongly re-affirm the cause for which we fought: A public office is a public trust,” he added.

Nelson thanked all his supports, including those who worked his campaign and contributed time and resources to the election effort, adding, “And with an optimistic heart, I wish to say something else: We may have been heavily outspent in this campaign, but we were never outworked.”

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3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Florida Republican Rick Scott “never wavered” in his bid to wrest away a U.S. Senate seat from a veteran Democrat on Capitol Hill.

U.S. Sen Bill Nelson ended his bitterly close re-election bid Sunday by conceding to Republican Rick Scott, Florida’s outgoing governor. Nelson gave up the fight on a day when Florida’s counties had to submit their official results after a sometimes bumpy recount. Those results showed the three-term incumbent trailed Scott by more than 10,000 votes.

Trump tweeted Sunday in support of Scott, writing, “He was a great Governor and will be even a greater Senator in representing the People of Florida. Congratulations to Rick on having waged such a courageous and successful campaign!

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3:05 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has ended his bitterly close re-election bid by conceding the race to Republican Rick Scott.

Nelson gave up the fight Sunday to Florida’s outgoing governor on a day when Florida’s counties had to submit their official results. Those results showed that the three-term incumbent trailed Scott by more than 10,000 votes.

Nelson’s concession capped tumultuous days of recounting and political tension in the perennial presidential swing state. It also will likely end the long-running political career of the 76-year-old Nelson. He was first elected to Congress nearly 40 years ago and then to the Senate in 2000.

Nelson and Democrats had filed several lawsuits over the recount, but a federal judge rejected most of them.

Florida will not officially certify the final totals until Tuesday.

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2:40 p.m.

Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott says incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson called him to concede defeat in their extremely tight race.

Scott issued a statement Sunday saying Nelson “graciously conceded” their Senate race shortly after the state’s recount ended. The final results show Scott defeated Nelson by just over 10,000 votes out of 8 million cast. Nelson is scheduled to release a videotaped statement later Sunday.

The defeat ends Nelson’s lengthy political career. The three-term incumbent was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. Before that he served six terms in the U.S. House and as state treasurer and insurance commissioner for six years.

Scott spent more than $60 million of his own money on ads that portrayed Nelson as out-of-touch and ineffective. Nelson responded by questioning Scott’s ethics and saying he would be under the sway of President Donald Trump.

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2 p.m.

Florida’s official vote count shows a Democrat appears to have narrowly won the race for state agriculture commissioner.

Results posted Sunday show after a recount Nikki Fried defeated Republican Matt Caldwell by 6,753 votes out of 8 million cast. That’s about one vote out of every 2,000 cast.

If the results are certified Tuesday, Fried will replace Republican Adam Putnam in January. He was barred from seeking a third term and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

The agriculture commissioner also oversees consumer services and runs the concealed weapons permit program.

Fried would replace apparently ousted U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson as the only Florida Democrat holding statewide office. The governor, the other two Cabinet positions and both senators will be Republicans.

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1:10 p.m.

Florida’s recount is over and Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race by more than 10,000 votes.

Official results posted by the state on Sunday showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals Tuesday.

The results show that Scott is poised to end Nelson’s lengthy political career. The three-term incumbent was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. Nelson has scheduled an announcement later Sunday afternoon.

Scott spent more than $60 million of his own money on ads that portrayed Nelson as out-of-touch and ineffective. Nelson responded by questioning Scott’s ethics and saying he would be under the sway of President Donald Trump.

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Noon

Florida counties have hit the deadline for submitting official results in this year’s contentious midterm elections.

Counties had until noon on Sunday to finish up recounts and turn final totals in closely watched races for U.S. Senate and governor.

State election officials were expected to announce the totals later Sunday, and will officially certify the results on Tuesday.

The deadline comes a day after Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the governor’s race to Republican Ron DeSantis. Previous totals showed Gillum trailing DeSantis by more than 30,000 votes.

Counties were legally required to do a machine recount after the initial results showed the race for governor and U.S. Senate very close. State officials then ordered a hand recount earlier in the week

8:07 a.m.

Andrew Gillum, who tried to energize Florida’s young and minority voters through a Democratic coalition seeking to end two decades of Republican control of the governor’s office, ended his hard-fought campaign Saturday as the state’s first black nominee for the post.

Gillum, whose refrain had been “bring it home” as he recounted stories of growing up poor in the state, concluded his campaign with a Facebook video he recorded alongside his wife in a park.

In his four-minute plus video, Gillum congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis and also vowed to remain politically active even though his term as mayor of the Florida capital of Tallahassee ends next week. Of his future plans, Gillum said: “stay tuned.”

Gillum, just 39 years old, earned national attention and financial backing from well-known liberal billionaires with his first bid for statewide office. He ran on a liberal platform that included expanding Medicaid and raising taxes to spend more on education even though both ideas would have been hard to pass through the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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