As Florida recount wraps up, Democrat Gillum concedes

Andrew Gillum speaks on Aug. 31 2018 in Orlando.                        Joe Raedle  Getty

Andrew Gillum speaks on Aug. 31 2018 in Orlando. Joe Raedle Getty

Democrat Andrew Gillum, who had sought to become Florida's first black governor, conceded on Saturday as a recount of ballots neared its end, and he congratulated rival Republican Ron DeSantis, an ally of President Donald Trump.

"This has been the journey of our lives", said Gillum, appearing in the video with his wife, R. Jai Gillum.

Gillum, who received heavy celebrity support in his campaign, remains as Tallahassee mayor, and noted, "the fight for Florida continues", but did not specify his next moves. The recount by machine showed DeSantis leading Gillum by more than 30,000 votes, an insurmountable lead. 'He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!'

Trump campaigned to help push DeSantis to a primary victory in August and visited Florida two more times to help the Republican in the final days of the election.

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Despite a Republican winning the race for governor, counties across the state are still in the middle of a hand recount for two statewide contests, including the race for U.S. Senate.

Florida's high-profile race for governor was close as well, but not enough to trigger a hand recount.

State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is 0.5 percentage points or less. Republican Rick Scott leads in that race.

A South Florida elections official says that her office has misplaced more than 2,000 ballots.

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Gillum was still trailing DeSantis by 33,683 votes, according to the official recount. Snipes did insist that the ballots were still in the elections building.

Early on Saturday, Broward County's recount of 22,000 ballots cast in the race for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture saw a hiccup, as well, and came to an abrupt stop when officials noticed volunteers had mixed 47 manila envelopes from the Senate recount in with those to be hand counted for the commissioner race, Fox News reported.

Snipes has already been under fire for the way her office has handled the election and recount. A second, manual recount is underway in that contest, because the margin following the initial machine recount was still too narrow by state standards.

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