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Andrew Gillum WITHDRAWS his concession as recounts are ordered in Florida's Senate and governor races after chaotic election and Trump promptly accuses officials of 'trying to STEAL two big elections'
Democrat Andrew Gillum officially ended his bid for Floridagovernor on Saturday, conceding the race to Republican Ron DeSantis.
The Tallahassee Mayor conceded the race on Saturday as a recount of ballots neared its end, and the Democrat congratulated Republican former Congressman DeSantis on becoming the state’s next governor.
'This has been the journey of our lives. We’ve been so honored by the support that we’ve received,' Gillum said in a video statement.
'We know that this fight continues, in spite of the outcome of this election.'
Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee Mayor, conceded the race on Saturday as a recount of ballots neared its end, and the Democrat congratulated Republican former Congressman DeSantis on becoming the state’s next governor
Gillum tweeted his concession to DeSantis on Saturday
'We are going to keep fighting,' Gillum tweeted. 'We will keep working.' Gillum is seen above with his wife, R. Jai
DeSantis said on Twitter, 'This was a hard-fought campaign. Now it’s time to bring Florida together.' DeSantis is seen in Orlando on November 5
'Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida,' Trump tweeted Saturday. 'He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!'
Gillum initially conceded the Governor's race on election night last Tuesday, but retracted the concession after it became apparent that there would be a recount.
The machine recount that was launched this week showed that Gillum faced an insurmountable deficit against DeSantis, increasing the pressure on the Democrat to concede, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.
Gillum was still trailing DeSantis by 33,683 votes, according to the official recount.
That means Gillum gained just 1 vote from the unofficial results that were reported last week, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
Of the more than 8 million votes cast, DeSantis holds a 0.41 per cent lead. By law, any election result within 0.25 per cent would automatically trigger a manual recount.
A frequent critic of Gillum, President Donald Trump, had positive things to say about the Democratic runner-up on Saturday.
'Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida,' Trump tweeted Saturday.
'He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!'
The Gillum-DeSantis race for Governor wasn't the only contest that went to a recount. The race between Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (left) and his challenger, Republican Governor Rick Scott (right), also went to a recount
Last month, Trump denounced Gillum as a 'thief' - a term that raised eyebrows given the racial connotations.
DeSantis said on Twitter, 'This was a hard-fought campaign. Now it’s time to bring Florida together.'
After Gillum initially conceded the contest on election night, his subsequent calls for every vote to be counted echoed similar appeals from fellow Democrat U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.
A recount is continuing in the race between Nelson and his challenger for the Senate seat, outgoing Republican Governor Rick Scott.
That recount has become the subject of an intense political battle with Republicans including Trump claiming without evidence that the process was marred by fraud.
Both parties and their supporters filed multiple lawsuits challenging the process, with Republicans urging a strict standard on which votes were counted while Democrats contested rules that they saw as disenfranchising voters.
A lot of the national attention has been focused on Broward County in South Florida.
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said that 2,040 ballots had been 'misfiled,' in a video posted by The South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Saturday.
'We have been trying to determine what could have caused the drop. What we believe is that in the recount area ... I believe those ballots were probably mixed in with another stack,' Snipes told the elections Canvassing Board at midday.
'The ballots are in the building. The ballots are in this building. There would be nowhere else for them to be. But they are misfiled in this building.'
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes explains to the canvassing board the discrepancy in vote counts during the hand count at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla., on Saturday
State officials ordered a manual recount on Thursday after a machine recount showed less votes in the county than the total number of votes reported to the state on November 10.
Broward County has historically been a Democratic stronghold, but the machine recount on Thursday had Scott leading Nelson by about 12,600 votes for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats.
With counties across Florida in the middle of a hand recount for statewide races, Broward thought its recount in the US Senate race was complete on Friday.
Early on Saturday, Broward County's recount of 22,000 ballots cast in the race for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture saw a hiccup, as well, and came to an abrupt stop when officials noticed volunteers had mixed 47 manila envelopes from the Senate recount in with those to be hand counted for the commissioner race, Fox News reported.
Had the mix-up not been caught, some ballots cast for commissioner may have been counted twice, but Broward County Canvassing Board Attorney Rene Harrod said the issue was caught in time and that none of the 47 envelopes were double counted in that race.
Vote-counting issues have plagued Broward County for at least the past 14 years, dating back to one year after Snipes took over as County Supervisor of Elections in 2003.
Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum has withdrawn his concession after the Florida secretary of state officially ordered a recount in the U.S. Senate and governor races.
Gillum, who was trailing his Republican rival, former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, by just 0.41 percentage points, tweeted Saturday: 'I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call we count every single vote.'
It's a reversal of his concession speech on election night, when the candidate had told supporters in Tallahassee: 'We recognize that we didn't win this tonight.'
The news comes just hours after Secretary Ken Detzner issued the recount order on Saturday because the unofficial results in both races fell within the margin that by law triggers a recount.
The unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by .41 percentage points.
In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's leads over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by .15 percentage points.
Detzner also ordered a recount for Florida's Agriculture Commissioner race where Democratic Nikki Fried stands .06 percentage points above Republican Matt Caldwell.
All three races will undergo machine recounts with results due no later than 3pm on Thursday November 15 to the Florida Department of State.
Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum (left) who was trailing his Republican rival, former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (right), by just 0.41 percentage points, has withdrawn his concession
If the vote is too close to call yet again by falling within a 0.25 margin or less, the three races will advance to hand recounts, due to be completed by November 18.
The state's 67 counties had until noon Saturday to submit their unofficial ballot tallies.
President Donald Trump - who campaigned for both Scott and DeSantis - said that the recounts are a Democrat ploy to steal the election.
'Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!' the president tweeted on Saturday.
Scott called for his opponent DeSantis to decline the recount.
'It's time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount,' Scott's spokesman Chris Hartline said.
Nelson responded saying he does not intend to back down.
'We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we'll win this election,' Nelson said in a statement.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Gillum withdrew his concession adding 'I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change'.
'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 said.
Secretary Ken Detzner ordered a recount for the Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races in Florida on Saturday. Republican Gov. Rick Scott's (left) leads over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson (right) is less than 0.25 percentage points
The Florida secretary of state is ordering recounts in the U.S. Senate and governor races. Susan Bucher, second right, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Judge August Bonavita, seated at center left, look at provisional ballots in Riviera Beach, Fla., Friday
'Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!' Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday
He also slammed Trump, Scott and Senator Marco Rubio who have voiced their opposition to the recount.
'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,' he said.
'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,' he added.
Secretary Ken Detzner issued the recount order for the Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races on Saturday
All the while protesters rallied outside the offices of the Broward County Supervisor of Elections in Lauderhill on Saturday where the final counts were made ahead of the noon deadline.
The recount announcement was made after Broward County election monitors said they saw no evidence of criminal activity in Tuesday's midterm election, despite the county being run by a controversial supervisor who mixed in illegal votes and failed to reveal the number of uncounted votes.
'Our staff has seen no evidence of criminal activity at this time,' Sarah Revell, spokesperson for the state Department of Elections, said to the Miami Herald on Saturday morning.
Following Tuesday's election, Rick Scott filed a lawsuit against Broward County and Palm Beach County, accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election on Thursday evening. He asked for Snipes to turn over several records detailing the counting and collection of ballots.
Snipes has been accused of 'fraud' in how she handled counting ballots in the election by Scott, President Donald Trump, and Republicans. She has a long history of controversies when it comes to vote counting.
The news comes as Florida election monitors in Broward County said they saw no evidence of criminal activity in Tuesday's midterm election. The county's Supervisor of Elections is Dr. Brenda Snipes, pictured above, has been accused of 'fraud' by Trump, Republicans and Rick Scott
Attorney Eugene Pettis (left) and Dottie Joseph (right), both of the Broward County Supervisor's Office announced Saturday that all the county's ballots have been counted
A crowd protests outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office Friday
Protesters chanted 'Lock her up!' and 'Sneaky Snipes has got to go!' outside the Broward County Elections Office in Lauderhill, Florida
The protesters targeted Snipes who has been accused of 'fraud' in how she handled counting ballots in the election by Scott, President Donald Trump, and Republicans
She agreed to present 205 provisional ballots to Broward County's canvassing board for inspection, and the board declared on Friday that 20 of the 205 provisional ballots were illegal due to mismatched signatures.
They were set aside then counted in a voting machine, but the results were not added to the election's final total vote count.
On Friday the county didn't know how to move forward with the invalid ballots.
'We have found no clear authority controlling the situation faced by the board,' Broward County Attorney Andrew Meyers said.
Broward County collected more than 600 provisional ballots on Election Day, but majority were deemed invalid by the board for reasons including late registration or voting in the wrong precinct.
Since the election two Department of Elections have been stationed in Broward County to oversee see the administration of the elections, visit polling stations and 'ensure all laws are followed'.
In May Florida's Secretary of State announced increased oversight after a court found Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes broke the law by authorizing the premature destruction of ballots pertaining to a contested race following the 2016 elections.
On Saturday Broward official hit back at fraud allegations in a news conference after the ballot tally, Snipes refused to confirm whether she had counted all the ballots for days. At the press conference her team said each ballot was finally processed, excluding overseas ballots.
'There have been allegation of fraud. Those are serious charges to recklessly offer out there. To give a claim of fraud without any evidence, I think it unacceptable,' Eugene Pettis, a lawyer for Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said.