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Politics & Government

Results In The Florida Race For Governor Concludes


At this hour in Florida, the election there, nearly two weeks later, is finally, finally drawing to a close. Counties finished their recounts and had to submit final vote tallies by noon. Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, conceded last night to his GOP opponent. And Democratic Senator Bill Nelson's chances of staying in the Senate have become almost nil. He did not appear to have overcome the 12,000 votes that separate him from his Republican opponent, Rick Scott. Joining us now is Mitchell Berger, special counsel for the Florida Democratic Party. He represented former Vice President Al Gore in lawsuits following the 2000 elections. Welcome to the program.

MITCHELL BERGER: Well, thank you for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mr. Berger, you seem to be a glutton for punishment. Now a second recount 18 years later. May I ask you, is Senator Nelson ready to concede?

BERGER: I am not intimate to what Senator Nelson's plans are in that regard. Your lead-in was correct. The recount right now has not shown that the undervotes or the people who failed to vote in the United States Senate have helped him to overcome the margin that he needed to achieve.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's fair to say, I guess, that it doesn't look good for Senator Bill Nelson. These recounts seem to have changed little. But there have been dozens of lawsuits. The election was also marked by a lack of favorable court rulings for the Democratic side. And the judge, Judge Mark Walker, did say that the state has a, quote, "important interest in delineating finality in elections," meaning, you know, these elections have to end at some point. It's been a bruising saga. Do you see his point?

BERGER: I think there is a point to having finality in elections, but the undercovered story is there was a recount going on in the secretary of agriculture's race in which the Democrats achieved success. And in the state court rulings, there were many successful rulings in the secretary of agriculture race. So certainly understand Judge Walker's point and certainly understand that - what the national story has been. But in the second-most important race in - statewide race in Florida, the Democrats won the secretary of agriculture race, that post, in a recount. That post regulates guns and water in our state. And those were the two biggest issues prior to the election occurring.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to get your reaction to something. GOP candidate Rick Scott made accusations of fraud, along with Senator Marco Rubio. And the president added to that. Do you think Floridians are going to have confidence in their elections going forward?

BERGER: Well, again, the judge and - the judge - not just Judge Walker but every judge that faced these litigations, many of which were brought by Governor Scott, said there was no fraud in this election. It is part of the unfortunate current Republican-Trump narrative - and I don't wish to be personal about this - but to tear down our systems. There was no fraud in this election. There were specific findings that there were no - there was no fraud in this election. And that was covered widely for a couple of days during the last week. And I think that is probably the most important court findings that were occurred. There was no fraud in the election.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Mitchell Berger, special counsel for the Florida Democratic Party. Thank you very much.

BERGER: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.