Florida Senate race headed for recount, incumbent says


The United States Senate race in Florida is headed for a recount after the Republican challenger's lead narrowed overnight, the longtime incumbent Democrat said on Wednesday.

"We are proceeding to a recount," Bill Nelson , who took office as senator in 2001, said in a brief statement.

The latest figures released by the Florida Division of Elections show Rick Scott with 50.19 percent of the vote (4,081,179 votes received), compared with Nelson's 49.81 percent (4,050,940 votes).

That margin of 0.38 percentage points is within the 0.5-percentage-point difference that, under state law, triggers an automatic recount.

Election Day on Tuesday closed with Scott, Florida's outgoing governor and a close ally of US President Donald Trump , giving a victory speech, although Nelson has not publicly conceded defeat.

Overall, the midterm elections produced a divided Congress, with the opposition Democrats retaking the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010 and the Republicans holding on to their majority in the Senate.

The 65-year-old Scott, a multi-millionaire businessman who poured more than $50 million of his own money into his Senate campaign, said in his speech that he would be the same hard-nosed politician in the Senate as he was in Florida's capital.

"I didn't go to Tallahassee eight years ago to be everybody's friend. I'm not going to (Washington) DC to win a popularity contest. I'm going to DC to get something done," Scott said, adding that as governor he had brought a "business perspective" to the governor's office and changed the direction of the state of Florida.

In a speech in which Scott sprinkled in some Spanish, he thanked all those who supported him, including President Trump, former President George W. Bush, Vice President Mike Pence and Florida's other senator, Republican Marco Rubio.

He also praised the current economic state of the US and Florida.

"Based on a lot of people's hard work, our national economy is growing. Our wages are up. And every country would love to have the economy of the USA. We are the envy of the world and Florida is the envy of the United States," Scott said.

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