Florida's Scott to Recuse Himself From Certifying Results

(Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Rick Scott said he will recuse himself from certifying election results including the Senate race he’s running in, addressing a key concern Democrats had raised in the battle to represent America’s largest swing state.

Unofficial results show Scott leading incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson by about 12,600 votes out of about 8.2 million, with lawsuits already swirling that could potentially affect thousands of ballots. Thursday is the deadline for a machine recount of statewide votes, in a process that also includes close races for governor and agriculture commissioner. After that, any race separated by 0.25 percentage point or less will proceed to a manual recount.

“I recused myself from certifying results on the Election Canvassing Committee in 2014, and I will do so again this year," Scott said, referencing his 2014 gubernatorial reelection bid. “This is nothing new," he said, without explaining why he’d waited this long to make his position clear.

A federal court hearing was underway in Tallahassee for a lawsuit Nelson’s team filed over provisional and mail-in ballots that were rejected over perceived mismatches in voter signatures.

Republicans are eager to protect the size of their advantage in the Senate after Democrats won control of the House. Meanwhile, the governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum -- where DeSantis leads -- will decide who’s in charge of a state that will be critical in the 2020 presidential election.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday called for Scott to take himself out of the recount process, echoing similar calls from Nelson himself. Separately, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters sued this week to ask Scott to recuse himself from the process.

“He’s a contestant in this election and can’t possibly be trusted to be a neutral and fair arbiter as the votes are tallied," Schumer told reporters in Washington.

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