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Gillum concedes Florida governor's race to DeSantis

By Allen Cone

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Democrat Andrew Gillum ended his bid for Florida governor Saturday after conceding to Republican Ron DeSantis on Saturday.

Gillum, the mayor of Tallahasse, congratulated the former member of the U.S. House after recount results showed him trailing by 30,000 votes.

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"R.J. and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida," Gillum said in a Facebook video in which he appeared alongside his wife. "This has been the journey of our lives."

On Twitter, he posted: "My wife R. Jai and I could not be prouder of the way we ran this race. We could not be more thankful to my running mate, @ChrisKingFL and his wife Kristen."

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On Election Night, Gillum had told his supporters in Tallahassee, "We recognize that we didn't win this tonight." But last Saturday after the recount was ordered, he said: "I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call we count every single vote."

DeSantis, who already has formed a transition team, posted on Twitter: "This was a hard-fought campaign. Now it's time to bring Florida together."

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Gillum says he will remain politically active, saying "stay tuned" and "the fight for Florida continues."

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President Donald Trump posted on Twitter on Saturday morning: "Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida. He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!"

Before the recount, DeSantis had roughly a 33,000-vote led -- 4,075,879 to 4,042,195. Because the margin was less than one-half of 1 percent, a machine recount was ordered.

The results didn't change much, with DeSantis picking up 434 votes and Gillum losing 433 votes, according to the secretary of state website. Recounts in two of the larger countries were not reported -- Broward missed it by two minutes and Palm Beach didn't report results because of delays in counting votes because of machine problems.

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The race for senator in Florida has not been declared because all counties must report hand recount figures by Sunday because the margin is less than .25 pecentage points at .15. Ballots that don't register a vote or display more than one in the scanner for a race are checked manually.

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Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, leads by nearly 13,000 votes over incumbent Bill Nelson after the machine recount, according to the state website -- 4,097,689 to 4,085,086.

The race is one of two 35 Senate races not declared. In Mississippi, Republican interim Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith leads Democrat Mike Espy, the state's agriculture secretary, but didn't receive a majority of the votes. A special election has been set for Nov. 27.

If the two Republicans prevail, the party will increase their majority by two seats to 53-47. Two independents caucus with Democrats.

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