Republican Rick Scott wins Florida US Senate seat after manual recount

Republican US Senate candidate Rick Scott is accompanied by his daughter Allison Guimard as he addresses supporters at his midterm election night party in Naples, Florida, on Nov 6, 2018.
Republican US Senate candidate Rick Scott is accompanied by his daughter Allison Guimard as he addresses supporters at his midterm election night party in Naples, Florida, on Nov 6, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

FLORIDA (REUTERS) - Florida's outgoing governor, Republican Rick Scott, was declared the winner of the state's hard-fought US Senate race on Sunday (Nov 18), following a recount of ballots in the tight contest against three-term Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

In the recount of the Nov 6 election, Scott won by 10,033 votes out of 8.19 million cast statewide, Florida elections officials said on Sunday. Scott took 50.05 per cent, compared with 49.93 per cent for Nelson, the officials added.

Nelson, first elected to the Senate in 2000, became the latest incumbent Democratic senator toppled in the midterm congressional election in which President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate but lost control of the House of Representatives.

Scott, who was prevented by state law from running for a third term as governor, emerged from the Nov 6 vote with a lead of less than 0.5 percentage points, which prompted a recount of the ballots. Republicans including Trump made allegations, without offering evidence, that the process was marred by fraud.

The battle between Nelson and Scott and the race to replace Scott as governor both were closely watched contests in which Democrats had hoped to topple Republicans. On Saturday, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican rival Ron DeSantis, an ally of Trump, in the governor's race, which also went to a recount.