Continetti on Florida Senate Race Recount: Results Unlikely to Change, but Democrats Trying to Control the Narrative

• November 8, 2018 8:28 pm


Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said Thursday that the recount for the Senate race in Florida between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson will likely not change the results but that Scott should still speak out on the matter so the Democrats cannot control the narrative.

"I think it's very important for Governor Scott to speak out, because what you see from the Marc Elias statement—he was Hillary Clinton's lawyer in 2016, he's a Democratic powerhouse—he is clearly trying to go in strong and dominant the narrative from the outset," Continetti said on Fox News. "Scott cannot allow that to happen."

The Nelson campaign has hired Elias, a prominent Democratic attorney, for the recount fight.

"We believe at the end of the day, Sen. Nelson is going to be declared the winner and return to the U.S. Senate," Elias said Thursday. "I think it's fair to say right now the results of the 2018 Senate election are unknown, and [media] and elections officials should treat it as such."

The recount of ballots was triggered because Nelson trailed Scott by less than 0.25 points. Scott is currently ahead by about 17,000 votes, a margin of 0.22 points.

Florida's gubernatorial race, between Republican Ron DeSeantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, is also going to a recount—in this case because the margin was less than 0.5 points. DeSantis was ahead of Gillum by less than 39,000 votes, or 0.47 percentage points.

Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott's campaign, called Elias a "hired gun," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"For Bill Nelson, the task is getting the ‘win' … no matter what," he said. "Let's be clear: When Elias says ‘win,' he means ‘steal.' It is sad and embarrassing that Bill Nelson would resort to these low tactics after the voters have clearly spoken."

Fox News host Bret Baier compared the Florida recounts to the 2000 presidential recount in the state.

"We all had that moment I think this afternoon of flashback," Continetti responded. "Here's the difference, and it's in the margin. There are about 17,000 votes right now in the Senate race. It's even larger in the gubernatorial race. In 2000, it was hundreds of votes. It's very rare for a recount to shift the decision that we find on election night."

Continetti noted that the last prominent recount that overturned the result on election night was in 2008, when Democrat Al Franken ultimately defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota. In that recount, Continetti said, there was a shift of less than 1,000 votes.