U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on Gov. Rick Scott Monday to recuse himself from “any role” he might play as governor in the recount in the race for U.S. Senate.
Scott ran against Nelson in the general election and appeared to be the winner of the race when the votes were counted Tuesday night. Scott held a lead of about 60,000 votes. But as vote counting continued in the days that followed, Scott’s lead has dropped to less that 13,000.
“[Rick Scott] should remove himself from any role in the recount process so the people can have confidence in the integrity of the election,” Nelson said in a video statement (see below) released today by his campaign. “Given his efforts to undermine the votes of Floridians, this is the only way that we can ensure that the people’s votes are protected. “
Nelson’s call for Scott’s recusal comes as Florida’s 67 counties continue recounting 8.2 million votes that were cast in the Senate race. The vote margins in the Senate contest, as well as in the races for governor and state agriculture commissioner, fell below the .5 percent mark that triggers a machine recount as prescribed by state law.
Nelson accused Scott of using “using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process.”
“He’s thrown around words like voter fraud without any proof,” Nelson said. “He’s stood on the steps of the governor’s mansion and tried to use the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Broward elections chief.
“He’s filed lawsuits to try to stop votes from being counted and to impound voting machines,” Nelson went on to say.
“The reason he’s doing these things is obvious,” Nelson surmised, “he’s worried when all the votes are counted, he’ll lose the election.
Nelson’s statements came hours following a judge’s denial to Scott’s request to seize voting machines in Broward County and Nelson’s campaign filed its own lawsuit to allow counting of vote-by-mail ballots received after Election Day.
If Scott is worried about losing the recount, it wasn’t reflected in comments he made to the Washington Post.
“We won the election,” Scott told the Post
“I’m looking forward to being up there,” Scott went on to say. “I’m looking forward to working hard. I’ve got a very specific agenda I’ve put out of what I want to accomplish. I know it’s going to be hard. I won’t make everyone happy. I did the same thing in Tallahassee. And it all worked out.”