Florida recount state of play: Postgame edition

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) conceded the Florida Senate race to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, ending his re-election bid after the completion of a statewide recount.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:40 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 6:40 AM


Thirteen days after the election, and the recount in Florida has come to an end.

After the results came in on Election Day, a recount was triggered in three races with razor-thin margins. Gov. Rick Scott came out victorious in the race for US Senate. Former Rep. Ron DeSantis will be Florida's next governor, and Nikki Fried will be the next agriculture commissioner.

It is finally over

The 2018 Florida recount drama, a story told against the backdrop of the 2000 presidential recount, turned out to be like most sequels -- a story with a lot of hype that ultimately ended not with a bang, but a faint whimper.

In the race for governor and US Senate, the ultimate results that we saw on election night ending up being the same results we saw after two exhaustive recounts and several expensive and intense lawsuits. With each passing day, Sen. Bill Nelson's opportunity to flip the results dwindled. The apparent end of his political career came with a simple phone call to his successor and a pretaped video statement. Neither the call nor the statement were a surprise and they came long after everyone, except seemingly his high-priced election lawyers, knew the outcome of the race.

How much damage was done?

The true story of this election may have very little to do with the politicians who won or lost. It may have much more to do with the damage this process did to the democratic system.

As the recount played out, Republicans at the highest level went to great lengths to suggest that fraudulent votes were being cast or added to the vote total. The most absurd claim of all was leveled by the President of the United States who suggested that Democrats in Florida were changing outfits in cars so that they could vote multiple times.

While there are plenty of examples of elections supervisors doing a less than admirable job of counting the votes efficiently -- and there are certainly some questions that need to be answered by Florida Democratic Party leaders about how they conducted their vote-counting process -- none of that had any impact on who won the election.

On the other end of things, Democrats consistently suggested that Republicans were using their positions of power to willfully set aside legally cast votes to win the election, a theory that was the backbone of their multiple legal challenges. Marc Elias, the lead Democratic lawyer, suggested that perhaps "many thousands" of constitutionally legal votes were being tossed out, but a federal judge, who is no fan of Scott, consistently ruled against Elias' legal arguments.

At the end of this back and forth, there are a significant number of Republicans who truly believe that fraudulent votes were cast, and a significant number of Democrats who believe that lawfully cast votes were tossed aside. There is simply no evidence to support either claim. The democratic process works based on a peaceful transition of power that is based on a faith in our voting system. It worked in Florida -- but not without serious, largely baseless, attacks against its foundation.

Rick Scott is a force to be reckoned with

It may be time to give Scott, the politician, the recognition he deserves.

When he broke onto the political scene as an unknown multimillionaire willing to invest significant sums of his own personal fortune, even Republicans were skeptical of his first run for governor in 2010. When I met him for the first time during that campaign, he made sure I knew that the Republican Governor's Association did not initially support his candidacy.

Close to a decade after that initial rejection from the RGA, Scott has won three races in the largest competitive state in America. Along the way, he has beaten major Democratic stars despite being the underdog in every single race. Scott does not have natural political skills, but what he does have is a relentless work ethic and millions of dollars. National Democrats spent roughly $50 million to protect Nelson's seat -- money that could've easily gone to winnable races in other states. Scott's personal bank account meant that national Republicans did not have to spend a dime. Not only is Rick Scott going to be a US Senator, but simply entering the race went a long way to helping Republicans keep the majority in the Senate in 2018.

2020 impact

The night before the election, I had a lengthy background call with a prominent Florida Democratic leader who was very optimistic about the party's chances but did say what "keeps me up at night" was the possibility they could lose, and that a loss could lead national Democrats to wonder if Florida should be written off as a swing state.

Florida is no easy investment. It costs millions to shower the state with ads and the human capital necessary to win elections. Even though it is most certainly a 50-50 state, Democrats can win the presidency without Florida. If they keep losing there, is it worth it to keep spending millions that could be spent somewhere else?

Chances are the answer is yes, for a couple of reasons.

First, Florida voters passed a measure that allows felons who have served their time the opportunity to get their voting rights back. That introduces a significant pool of voters that have never been in play. Second, while the change is slow, the demographics in Florida are changing. The state is getting younger and more diverse. Democrats expected that to make the difference in 2018. They didn't quite get there, but maybe 2020 is the year they push over the top.

New York

Cases: 1242561

Reported Deaths: 40993
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1550597836
Kings1519718037
Suffolk1259252577
Nassau1127022540
Bronx1038695255
Westchester837081789
New York744523434
Erie513841360
Richmond442101373
Monroe43659753
Rockland31509806
Orange28386642
Onondaga27190524
Oneida16502341
Dutchess16327304
Albany15981252
Niagara11822239
Broome10866254
Saratoga898479
Schenectady8480122
Ulster7548189
Rensselaer6693102
Putnam638674
Chemung5534107
Chautauqua546056
Oswego481663
Ontario464781
Steuben4541131
Cayuga431069
Sullivan376548
Genesee363098
Wayne360650
Herkimer352851
St. Lawrence349656
Cattaraugus334460
Jefferson309421
Madison307375
Livingston264538
Tompkins261322
Cortland260453
Columbia239769
Allegany232875
Montgomery216772
Tioga216754
Wyoming211441
Clinton209117
Fulton203948
Warren200437
Greene199557
Orleans189868
Chenango170439
Otsego162323
Lewis145123
Washington143823
Seneca120345
Franklin11039
Delaware99019
Essex95916
Schoharie8825
Yates79516
Schuyler71010
Hamilton1451
Unassigned39101
Out of NY0164

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2988326

Reported Deaths: 33589
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles101466213848
San Bernardino2512131560
Riverside2394122517
San Diego2117872103
Orange2108132367
Santa Clara926251065
Kern84644565
Fresno81294932
Sacramento791221080
Alameda66583757
Ventura60368412
San Joaquin56642748
Contra Costa51573446
Stanislaus42337739
Tulare40655501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo31805294
San Francisco28853254
Imperial25140463
Solano24732105
Santa Barbara24149231
Sonoma23607234
Merced23492296
Kings19125133
Placer16995173
San Luis Obispo15466128
Madera13193130
Santa Cruz12026113
Marin11482153
Yolo10406131
Shasta9594117
Butte9359121
El Dorado757544
Sutter756077
Napa735639
Lassen509413
San Benito488243
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada314473
Mendocino307631
Amador298629
Lake250428
Humboldt229424
Glenn189419
Colusa16919
Calaveras159623
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8532
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3444
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133205

Reported Deaths: 1800
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28337458
Washington18644171
Marion16172238
Clackamas11642138
Lane8272108
Jackson689285
Umatilla676568
Deschutes495236
Yamhill318245
Malheur313152
Linn310846
Polk244640
Klamath242838
Josephine173533
Jefferson170225
Benton169514
Douglas167743
Union111416
Wasco107123
Columbia104318
Lincoln99117
Hood River95121
Coos93715
Morrow93310
Clatsop6865
Crook61010
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00