Panicked Republicans (And The President) Spring Into Action Charging Voter Fraud As Their Leads Narrow In Key States
Late last night, current Florida Governor Rick Scott, who just ran for Senate (and is leading), sued two Florida counties and ordered the state to investigate election officials there. Those officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties say they are still just counting votes in an election with very heavy turnout and a lot of absentee and mail-in ballots. But Scott went even further, saying this is the work of “unethical liberals” trying to “steal this election from the great people of Florida”.
Keep in mind Scott is not (yet) trying to block a recount. He’s trying to block completion of the original vote count.
Republicans remain ahead by razor thin margins in Florida in both the race for Governor and Senator, and it’s obviously helping that the state currently has a Republican Governor, who also happens to be clinging to the lead in the Senate race. Earlier in the day, multiple news outlets reported those contests tightening to the point where they’d automatically trigger a recount as mandated by state law. Given Republican control of the state, and past history of similar outcomes, the picture isn’t exactly rosy for Democrats despite their sizeable gains. At the same time, Republicans reacting so feverishly and so suddenly also at least betrays a deep fear on their part that Democrats could still prevail. And that has significance beyond this election: Democrats would almost definitely have to beat Trump in Florida in 2020 to have a chance at winning back the Presidency.
Republicans have yet to resort to legal action in Arizona (which also has a Republican Governor). And the Senate race there is quickly shaping up to be more competitive than it originally appeared. Late yesterday Democrat Kyrsten Sinema passed Republican Martha McSally in total votes and now leads by just under 10,000, with as many as half a million votes still to be counted. Of course if there wasn’t a Green Party candidate in the mix, who siphoned off several tens of thousands of votes, which otherwise would’ve likely gone to Sinema, this would’ve been long over. And Sinema herself launched her political career with the Green Party. Some voters are very hard to please.
It’s a very fluid situation in many places, because there seem to be a way bigger number of uncounted and mail-in ballots and other things than anticipated, and that’s made some races that seemed lost causes into competitive challenges again, and left many others still too close to call. This is also true in California where Democrats could expand their House margins further, but it may take a while to find out since mail-in ballots didn’t have to be postmarked until Election Day.
Fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver suggest that when it’s all over, Democrats will probably end up doing significantly better than it appeared on election night. Which of course is likely to encourage fusillades of further accusations from the President and other conspiracy-minded Republicans.
Fivethirtyeight is doing a pretty good job at keeping up on these last minute developments. So don’t hesitate to use them as a resource if you’re into this kind of moment-to-moment intrigue. We know we will be.