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Fla. Gov. Rick Scott sues Broward and Palm Beach counties and accuses ‘unethical liberals’ of trying to steal election with bogus vote count

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By Ali Vitali and Doha Madani

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday evening filed suit and asked for an investigation into ongoing ballot counts that he accused of being a partisan attempt by “unethical liberals” to steal the state’s Senate election.

Scott, who ran against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, alleged that the Broward County and Palm Beach County supervisors of elections were engaging in “rampant fraud.”

The governor requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate the new ballot counts, which have narrowed his Election Night-lead.

“Every day since the election the left-wing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere,” Scott told reporters.

The tight Senate race was too close to call on Tuesday night, but as more votes were processed, Scott’s lead fell below .5 percent, which could trigger an automatic machine recount. It is currently .2 percent — fewer than 22,000 votes, according to NBC News. A final vote count is expected by noon on Saturday.

“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try and steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott told reporters Thursday.



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Two Asian Americans apparently elected to New York State Senate in historic first

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By Chris Fuchs

Voters appear to have given the New York State Senate its first two Asian-American lawmakers Tuesday — one of whom would be the first Indian American to ever serve in either house of the state legislature.

John Liu, a Democrat and New York City’s first Asian-American city councilman, apparently defeated Republican candidate Vickie Paladino, conservative candidate Simon H. Minching, as well as incumbent Tony Avella, who lost the Democratic primary to Liu in September, according to unofficial results.

Avella, whose state Senate district encompasses neighborhoods in the New York City borough of Queens, still ran in the general election, though not as a Democrat.

Meanwhile, unofficial results out on Long Island showed that attorney Kevin Thomas, an immigrant from India, appeared to eke out a victory against Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon, whose district covers parts of Nassau County.

Come January, assuming the results stand, Liu and Thomas will join Democratic assembly members Ron Kim and Yuh-Line Niou as the state legislature’s four Asian-American lawmakers.

Asians make up around 9 percent of the state’s total population, according to census figures.

“The goal was to inject a voice that had been absent prior,” Liu said in a phone interview. “And the goal is also to vigorously represent the needs of this community that I’ve lived in my whole life, and grown up in, and am raising my own family in.”



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Gillum statement stokes intrigue as Florida vote margin tightens

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By Ali Vitali

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — All eyes were on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Thursday, as vote margins in Florida’s close contests for governor and Senate tightened.

Gillum’s campaign stoked intrigue by releasing a statement about “counting every vote” — but not explicitly asking for a recount.

On Tuesday night, Gillum conceded in his race against Republican Ron DeSantis and his team was clear Wednesday that it hadn’t met the threshold to trigger an automatic recount.

Gillum has 49.1 percent, or 4,023,124 votes, while DeSantis has 49.6 percent, or 4,066,059 votes, for a margin of just under 43,000, according to NBC News.

The Gillum statement said that since the concession speech “it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported. Our campaign, along with our attorney Barry Richard, is monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount.”

It continued, “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.”

NBC News has called DeSantis the “apparent” winner in the governor race, while votes are still being counted in places like Broward County and margins appear to be tightening slightly.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Senate race featuring Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson against Republican Rick Scott seemed to be heading for a recount, which is automatically triggered when the vote difference is less than 0.5 percent. It is currently .2 percent, fewer than 22,000 votes, according to NBC News.

The deadline for all 67 Florida counties to submit their first set of unofficial returns is Saturday at noon ET, according to the secretary of state’s office.

In a call with reporters Thursday, Nelson lawyer Marc Elias said that the race currently stands as a “jump ball” as counties around the state canvass their votes, but he believes Nelson will remain senator once the recount dust settles.

The Scott campaign, for its part, released a statement Thursday attacking Nelson for hiring a D.C. lawyer in an attempt to “steal” the election. Scott declared victory Tuesday night, but NBC News has not yet called the race.

The Sunshine State is no stranger to lengthy post-election battles. Most famously, the state was the epicenter of the George W. Bush versus Al Gore “hanging chad” debacle in 2000.

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Democrats rack up more gains in House as key tight races are called

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By Alex Seitz-Wald

WASHINGTON — The House Democratic majority continued to grow Thursday as Rep. Karen Handel, the Republican who won a high-profile Georgia special election last year, conceded to challenger Lucy McBath, bringing the party’s net gain of seats in Tuesday’s midterm elections to 31.

That number could grow again in coming days as more outstanding races are called. Many analysts have estimated that the number will climb closer to 38 seats by the time all votes are counted, and a dozen competitive House contests remained too close to call by midday Thursday.

For comparison, Democrats won 31 House seats in their 2006 wave election, which then-Republican President George W. Bush deemed a “thumping,” while Republicans won 63 in 2010. In both cases, however, the out-of-power party also made gains in the Senate, while this year, Democrats lost ground there even while flipping the House.

Karen Handel
Karen HandelDrew Angerer / Getty Images

NBC News projected Thursday that McBath is the apparent winner in the race, while Handel told supporters in an email that she had reviewed the data and concluded, “It is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday.”

Handel congratulated McBath, an African-American Democrat who got involved in political activism after her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was fatally shot by a white man in an incident that drew national attention.

Handel occupied the seat for barely more than a year after winning the most expensive House race in history, the 2017 special election against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who was dissuaded from running again this year.

McBath will be the first Democrat to represent the district, which includes parts of the North Atlanta suburbs, since the Jimmy Carter administration. Former occupants of the seat include former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s first Health and Human Services secretary, who resigned from that job amid controversy last year.

The neighboring district, Georgia’s 7th, remains surprisingly close, with Republican Rep. Rob Woodall holding a narrow lead over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux as the final outcome remains unclear.

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., conceded a Los Angeles-area congressional district that includes the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to 31-year-old Democratic challenger Katie Hill. She is the apparent winner in that race, NBC News projected Thursday.

In Orange County, California, Democrat Harley Rouda leads Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, while Democrat Mike Levin is ahead in the neighboring district formerly occupied by retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, though NBC News deems both races too close to call.

Republicans look likely to hang on to two other contested Southern California districts. It may take days for final results in the Golden State, since voters are allowed to mail their absentee ballots as late as Election Day.

Meanwhile, Republican congressional candidate Dino Rossi conceded to Democrat Kim Schrier in a contest for a Washington state House district that includes both wealthy suburbs and rural farmland.

Democrats also lead in too-close-to-call races in New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico and Utah, where former Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is outpacing Rep. Mia Love, the Republican incumbent. Trump trashed her during a news conference Wednesday, saying, “Love gave me no love.”

Republicans picked up two Democratic-held seats in traditionally blue parts of rural Minnesota, even as Democrats flipped two GOP-held suburb seats there and won big statewide, reflecting the large political realignment evident in Tuesday’s election.

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