US midterms: Donald Trump seeks end to Florida recount as Democrats win Arizona Senate seat
- Trump claimed without evidence that ballots are ‘missing or forged’, as mandatory recounts in Florida Senate and governor’s races continue
- Arizona Republican Martha McSally concedes US Senate race, providing Democrats a key pickup
US President Donald Trump urged Florida election officials to end a recount and declare his fellow Republicans the winners of disputed races in last week’s elections, while Democrats picked up a US Senate seat in Arizona.
US Representative Kyrsten Sinema declared victory and Republican opponent Martha McSally conceded after multiple media outlets called the closely contested Arizona race for the Democrat. Sinema will succeed Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, who did not seek election.
The results will not affect Republican control of the 100-member Senate. Republicans have won at least 51 seats and Democrats 47 in the elections, with results in Florida and Mississippi still outstanding.
In Florida, leads by the Republican candidates in the races for a US Senate seat and the governor’s office shrank as more ballots were tallied following last Tuesday’s elections.
State law mandates recounts in elections where the margin of victory is within 0.5 percentage point.
As Florida officials scrambled to review more than 8 million ballots by Thursday, Trump, without providing evidence, cast doubt on the recount process.
Trump called for an end to the recount even though state rules allow election officials to wait 10 days for absentee ballots submitted by registered voters living outside the United States, including active-duty military personnel.
A machine recount began over the weekend in the race between outgoing Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson, with another recount under way for the Florida gubernatorial race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum.
Republicans are eager to cement victories in a key battleground state after maintaining their control of the US Senate in last week’s congressional midterm elections, while Democrats are eyeing another possible state governorship win.
Each party accused the other of trying to subvert democracy.
Scott on Sunday asked a Broward County judge to issue an emergency injunction calling for law enforcement to seize all voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when they are not being used until the end of the recount and any related litigation.
Broward County Circuit Judge Jack Tuter, who on Monday rejected Scott’s request for the emergency injunction, urged both sides to be restrained in their public statements as the state faces a repeat of its dramatic role in the 2000 US presidential vote recount.
Trump repeated his complaints over the Florida races in a Twitter post on Monday.
The president instead called on state authorities to go with the initial vote count totals. Trump alleged voter fraud had taken place, but provided no evidence.
“The Florida Election should be called in favour of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!” he wrote.
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
Studies have found no evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the United States, although courts have found evidence through the nation’s history of policies intended to suppress voting by minorities.
Georgia’s gubernatorial race also remains undecided. Several US House of Representative races are also still too close to call after Democrats seized control of the House in last week’s elections.