Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is supporting a recount in the Nov. 6 race for his Senate seat that left him trailing current Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott by less than half a percentage point.
Speaking on Capitol Hill Nov. 13 with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Nelson, the number-two Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, urged the process to move forward, saying, “People must have confidence in the integrity of the election. … We will work to see that the recount is conducted fairly and that the rule of law is followed.”
Nelson met with Schumer to discuss the Florida election earlier on Tuesday, the Florida senator said. The legal proceedings are ongoing, he added.
Nelson, a Vietnam War veteran and former NASA astronaut, is the current ranking member of the SASC cybersecurity subcommittee, and also sits on the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee. In his remarks Tuesday afternoon, he accused Scott of “using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process” and of “throwing around” voter fraud without any proof. He called on Scott to recuse himself from the recount process and echoed Schumer, who claimed Nelson had “an excellent chance” of winning the seat should the recount proceed.
President Trump has inserted himself into the Florida Senate race, calling on Nelson to concede defeat and intimating that voter fraud may be at hand in two Democratic strongholds, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Trump and Scott “are attempting to bully the election officials … out of doing their jobs in an attempt to win this election,” Schumer said.
He added that the current deadline for votes to be counted is Nov. 18, but that is based on a precedent from the 2000 presidential election that is not relevant to Florida’s Senate race, and officials “should have all the time they need to count every Floridian ballot.”
He added that Democrats are prepared to live with the results of the recounted election.
The Senate has already lost two senior Democrats, both of which served on SASC: Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) both lost to their Republican challengers Nov. 6.