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Republicans Freak Out as New Ballots Threaten Florida Senate Win
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49511"><span class="small">Will Sommer, The Daily Beast</span></a>   
Friday, 09 November 2018 13:44

Sommer writes: "New ballots in Broward County have conspiracy theorists - including the state's top elected officials - calling for an investigation of Democrats."

Democrat Bill Nelson, Republican Marco Rubio, and Republican Rick Scott. (image: The Daily Beast)
Democrat Bill Nelson, Republican Marco Rubio, and Republican Rick Scott. (image: The Daily Beast)

Republicans Freak Out as New Ballots Threaten Florida Senate Win

By Will Sommer, The Daily Beast

09 November 18

New ballots in Broward County have conspiracy theorists—including the state’s top elected officials—calling for an investigation of Democrats.

s the Republican margin in Florida’s U.S. Senate race narrowed and the contest headed toward a manual recount, everyone from elected Republicans to online conspiracy-mongers began screaming foul on Thursday night.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is clinging to a roughly 34,000-vote lead over Sen. Bill Nelson (D), held a press conference at the Florida governor’s mansion in which he called on law enforcement to launch an investigation and announced that he and the National Republican Senate Committee were bringing a lawsuit against officials in Broward County, where many votes are still being counted.

In other words, the state governor used his state-funded official residence to launch legal action against his own state’s election officials about an election he was a candidate in.

That was merely the formal legal tip of the brewing Republican pushback.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a social media meltdown, claiming in a long series of tweets that Democratic lawyers had come to Broward to “change the results of the election.”

Florida’s gubernatorial race is also tightening. The race between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis had appeared to be over on Tuesday night, when Gillum, the Democrat, conceded. But as the counts continued, particularly in Broward County, the gap between the candidates narrowed so much that it passed the 0.5 percent automatic recount threshold on Thursday afternoon, Politico reported.

The late swing toward the Democrats—powered by South Florida—is so pronounced in the election for Florida’s agriculture commissioner that Democrat Nikki Fried has now moved into the lead after she trailed her Republican rival on Election Night.

As of Thursday night, officials in Broward County—where around 1.2 million people are registered to vote—gave no indication of the number of ballots still to count.

Rubio was hardly the only conservative propagating remarkable theories online about how the election was literally being stolen from them, before the party’s conspiracist-in-chief weighed in Thursday evening:

That came after far-right activists on Twitter had circulated a hashtag, “#StopTheSteal,” to organize opposition to counting ballots in Florida. Ali Alexander, a self-described philosopher and Republican activist who runs a PAC that’s bankrolled by the billionaire pro-Trump Mercer family, urged his fans to protest in Broward County.

“Protest everything,” Alexander tweeted. “Disrupt everything.”

In his Thursday press conference, Scott revved up his party’s grassroots, calling for a law-enforcement investigation and accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election.

“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election,” Scott said.

Scott also sought to tie Nelson’s recount effort to Hillary Clinton, pointing out that Nelson’s election lawyer, Marc Elias, also worked for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and helped arrange financing for the Fusion GPS “dossier” on Donald Trump. Right-wing media quickly picked up on the Elias connection, with Breitbart devoting top placement on its homepage to a video describing Elias as a “Lawyer Tied to Clinton Campaign & ‘Pee Dossier.’”

Much of the attention online has focused on an unclear video that purports to show ballots being transported in private cars, which Scott supporters say would violate chain-of-custody rules. Rubio and a number of right-wing blogs have promoted the video, which was shot by failed congressional candidate Tim Canova.

Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections didn’t respond to a request for comment about the video. Canova, a former Democrat who came in third on Election Day with an independent challenge against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), has also disputed the results of his own election defeat.

The Republican anxiety in Florida comes as they face worsening odds in another late-counting Senate race, this time in Arizona. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took a thin lead in the Arizona race on Thursday as more votes were counted.

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+39 # DongiC 2018-11-09 16:52
The cheaters (republican professionals) accuse others of cheating when the votes go against them. Scott and Desantis should let the election officials of various Florida counties conduct the elections counting all the ballots even the absentee ones. Just because these late ballots are for democratic candidates, they should not be discounted. No matter how loud the GOP schemers scream. It's known as democracy, guys, get used to it. We count all the votes, not just the Republican ones.
+9 # economagic 2018-11-10 09:20
"We count all the votes, not just the Republican ones."

Let's hope. It has been documented NOT to the case since Bush v Gore.
+22 # MikeAF48 2018-11-09 20:17
Recount Florida Democrats keep your eye on the prize. Turn FLORIDA BLUE. Watch out for strange activities tonight.
+10 # librarian1984 2018-11-09 21:07
It's irresponsible for Rubio or anyone else to act as if these ongoing counts are unusual or underhanded. There are always a few races, out of hundreds held, that require absentee and provisional ballots to be counted, or recounts. If some kook gets it into their head to attack those 'cheating Democrats', they'll deny it had anything to do with them.

The GOP are sore losers and ungracious winners, and they try to spin that into virtue.

After this cycle, with 1-1/2 million felons allowed to vote, FL may never have another Republican representative.
+7 # Caliban 2018-11-09 23:24
The phrase "new ballots" is misleading. The ballots in question are "NEWLY COUNTED" ballots from the customary election voting process.
+7 # grandlakeguy 2018-11-10 00:03
I have always believed that the scanners that are used to count the votes are just as fraudulent as the computerized voting machines.
What will happen if a physical hand recount exposes a major difference in the "Results"?

Of course the Republicans are in full panic!
+14 # kapakahi 2018-11-10 02:06
Well, ya know, Republicans close down the government because of Democratic deficit spending...and then pass tax cuts for the rich that drive us trillions of dollars deeper into debt. They refuse to consider a Supreme Court nomination by a Democratic president nearly a year before his term is over, but all of a sudden can't wait to hold a hearing for a Republican - so what if he's accused of sexual assault. They claim to be pro-life, except if you have a pre-existing condition and can't get insurance. They're all about religious freedom, but only for Christians. They pledge allegiance to the flag, then turn around and take away the right to vote from people who don't vote Republican.

There's much more, of course. Quite a track record of hypocrisy, yeah? So when they accuse "liberals" of trying to steal an election, when they themselves are trying to steal elections across the country by denying the right to vote, it's hard to take them seriously.

And seriously? Liberals stealing an election? They wouldn't have a clue. It wouldn't occur to them - that's not how they think. If they tried they'd screw it up and confess and apologize and hang their heads in shame. Their history shows they'd rather surrender than fight. They make really lousy criminals.

But Republicans? Stealing is a career for them. And stealing while accusing others of stealing, well, that's what they do best.
+2 # relegn 2018-11-10 06:55
As of 7:45 EST this morning R. Scott has a lead of over 14,000 votes. Even with a recount it is likely he will win the Senate seat. So why are Republicans so anxious? Are they afraid that this is the last election they will win in Florida?
+9 # grandlakeguy 2018-11-10 16:05
Because a manual recount may very well expose the fraud of optical scanners.
Like any computer with "secret proprietary software" the results can be programmed into the device in advance.

If a manual recount exposes a major difference the myth of American "free and fair elections" will be exposed.
+11 # LionMousePudding 2018-11-10 10:37
Cheating is the only way they can win, which has been true since the 2000 election. This is why they need fascism. They need to never give up power because they know if they do, it will only be about another decade until our lead will be strong enough that they can't steal it.
+3 # chapdrum 2018-11-10 12:18
LMPudding: Spot on.
+2 # spenel334 2018-11-11 11:20
To # kapakahi
I wish I knew how to get your remark publicized throughout
the media. While the Republicans are shouting out fraud, the people need to know who the fraudsters are.

Well said, to Kapakahi.