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Mitt Romney concedes Florida to Obama

Nov. 8, 2012 at 6:49 PM   |   Comments

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign Thursday conceded Florida's 29 electoral votes to President Barack Obama.

"The numbers in Florida show this was winnable," Brett Doster, Florida adviser for Romney, told The Miami Herald. "We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn't, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won't happen again."

Election results in Florida still aren't certified, prompting some residents to express discomfiture their state was making Election Day headlines again.

America woke up Wednesday to the news Obama was re-elected, Republicans retained control of the U.S. House, Democrats still held sway in the U.S. Senate and Florida's balloting was too close to call because of long lines on Election Day -- some precincts reported the last voters cast ballots after Romney had conceded the presidential race -- and tens of thousands of absentee ballots uncounted.

Unlike the 2000 tilt between Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Democratic Vice President Al Gore, the 2012 election did not rest on the allocation of Florida's 29 electoral votes.

"We're such an embarrassment," Tya Eachus of Miami, who waited in line for 3 hours Tuesday, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's always a fiasco with us."

With 8.3 million Florida votes in, Obama held a 46,000-vote lead over Romney. Election workers were counting thousands of absentee ballots, and race trackers, mindful of the 2000 confusion, refrained from calling Florida until all the votes were in -- even by Thursday.

Results were due by noon Saturday, said Chris Cate, a spokesman for the state elections department.

Miami-Dade finished tallying more than 31,000 absentee ballots early Thursday, The Miami Herald said. Two other counties were reported still counting theirs.

Elsewhere in the Sunshine State, a congressional race with national implications was still undecided. Rep. Allen West, the Republican incumbent, railed his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, by 2,465 votes with all precincts reporting.

West, first elected in 2010 and a favorite of the Tea Party, was refusing to concede on the grounds that some provisional votes remained to be counted, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Hearings were scheduled for Thursday and Friday on motions filed by an attorney for West to impound ballots and voting equipment for a potential recount in St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties.

By Florida election law, ballots must be recounted if the election is decided by less than 0.5 percent of the vote. Murphy's lead is barely larger than that -- 0.7 percent of the vote.

West's refusal to concede prompted Murphy to email supporters seeking post-election donations in what could turn into a protracted legal battle.

The troubles at some polling places throughout the state put an exclamation point to a long and uneasy election cycle for Florida that featured fights over a proposed voter purge by Republican Gov. Rick Scott and a highly contested law pushed through by Republicans lawmakers that restricted early voting hours.

John Camp, an attorney with a non-profit coalition called Election Protection, told the Times most of the Miami-Dade County workers really tried to keep long lines moving. Still, he said, there were problems.

"I agree, it does seem like we don't ever seem to get it right," Camp said, "even though we keep trying."

In a radio interview with WLRN-FM, Miami, Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the election "was a disaster."

Miami attorney Kendall Coffey told the Herald the governor could have eased the situation by going with former Gov. Charlie Crist's plan to add extra early voting days.

Scott, during a news conference Wednesday, said his administration needed to review how it managed its election process while being fiscally prudent.

"Whenever you finish a project, in this case an election," he said, "[officials must] go back and look. What went right? What can we improve?"

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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