Florida’s hotly contested race for the U.S. Senate could be heading for an automatic recount today.
Republican Rick Scott holds a 34,435-vote lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson out of more than 8.1 million ballots cast for a difference of 0.42 percent, according to unofficial returns posted by the state Division of Elections.
State law triggers a recount if the difference in a race is less than 0.5 percent. So if the returns stand, the state will count the ballots again. There was no comment from state officials early Wednesday.
Nelson on Tuesday night did not speak as the returns came in. His campaign said he would have a statement today.
“This is obviously not the result Senator Nelson’s campaign has worked hard for,” said Pete Mitchell, Nelson’s campaign manager, at an election party in Orlando. “The senator will be making a full statement tomorrow to thank all those who rallied for his cause.”
Scott did appear to claim victory at his celebration in Naples.
“It’s hard to believe we’re here tonight,” he said. “This campaign is behind us and that’s where we’re going to leave it.”
At the time he spoke, Scott’s lead was slightly greater than the 0.5 percent margin required for a recount.