Florida election: Rick Scott wins Senate seat as Bill Nelson concedes after manual recount

'Let's get to work,' says Mr Scott after result is announced

Bernie Woodall
Sunday 18 November 2018 23:15 GMT
Rick Scott has won
Rick Scott has won (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican Rick Scott has been declared the winner of Florida's hard-fought US Senate race, following a manual recount of ballots in the tight contest against three-term Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

In the recount of the 6 November election, current Florida governor Mr Scott won by 10,033 votes out of 8.19 million cast statewide. Mr Scott took 50.05 per cent, compared with 49.93 per cent for Mr Nelson.

Mr Nelson, first elected to the Senate in 2000, became the latest incumbent Democratic senator toppled in the midterm congressional election in which President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate but lost control of the House of Representatives.

Other incumbent Democratic senators defeated in the election include Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” Scott said in an emailed statement.

The statement ended: “Let's get to work.”

Mr Trump tweeted his congratulations to Mr Scott in the wake of the announcement saying that he "never wavered".

Mr Nelson said that “things worked out a little differently than... I had hoped” in a video statement.

Mr Scott, who was prevented by state law from running for a third term as governor, emerged from the vote with a lead of less than 0.5 percentage points, which prompted a recount of the ballots. Republicans including Mr Trump made allegations, without offering evidence, that the process was marred by fraud.

The battle between Mr Nelson and Mr Scott and the race to replace Mr Scott as governor both were closely watched contests in which Democrats had hoped to topple Republicans. On Saturday, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican rival Ron DeSantis, an ally of Mr Trump, in the governor's race, which also went to a recount.

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Mr Scott, 65, entered politics from the business world, having amassed a personal fortune as a healthcare executive. He dipped into his wealth to help finance his campaigns, winning the governorship in 2010 and 2014 by about one per cent of the vote.

Mr Nelson, 76, has been a fixture in Florida politics since he won a seat in the state legislature in 1972. He then served in the US House of Representatives and has held state Cabinet posts.


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