As White House screams fraud in Florida, several Republican candidates are still awaiting more votes
Since the late hours of Tuesday night, when the statewide elections in Florida began to slowly but steadily tighten, Republicans have been screaming bloody murder about voter fraud as the two leading candidates — Republicans Rick Scott, running for Senate, and Ron DeSantis, running for governor — have watched their leads shrink.
The shifting margins are owed, as always, to the delayed tabulation of tens of thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots which cannot be counted as quickly as the automated votes cast on Election Day.
And because a high percentage of outstanding ballots are coming from Florida’s most populous counties along the southeast coast, which tend to lean heavily Democratic, the two challengers — Sen. Bill Nelson and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum — have been the main beneficiaries of the updating figures.
Naturally, Republicans are once again distraught at the idea of having every legitimate ballot counted. Gov. Scott has publicly accused Sen. Bill Nelson of fraud, and Donald Trump has suggested Democrats are trying to “steal” the elections. Neither have produced a single piece of evidence to suggest even one vote that has been counted is fraudulent.
But although Republicans are demonizing efforts to count every vote in Florida, a handful of GOP congressional candidates around the country are themselves insisting every vote be counted in their own races, hoping to make up deficits against their Democratic opponents.
Dana Rohrabacher, California’s 48th Congressional District
One of Donald Trump’s closes allies is currently trailing Democratic challenger Harley Rouda by more than 8,500 votes in one of the most closely watched congressional districts in the country. Rohrabacher held his seat for three decades, but his close ties to a deeply unpopular president, as well as his overtures to Trump’s handler, Russian President Vladimir Putin, cost him support in a district where registered Republicans still dramatically outnumber Democrats.
The Associated Press finally called the race in favor of Rouda late Saturday, but a spokesman for the Rohrabacher campaign said they would not concede the election until every vote is counted, a process that the local registrar said could take another two weeks.
Neither Democrats nor the Rouda campaign have accused Rohrabacher of voter fraud.
Tom MacArthur, New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District
Incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur has yet to concede his race to Democratic challenger Andy Kim. Heading into the weekend, Kim was leading MacArthur by 3,424 votes, with at least 6,400 provisional ballots yet to be counted.
MacArthur, like Rohrabacher, was a staunch ally of Donald Trump, backing him in Congress more than another other representative from New Jersey. It was his close ties to a deeply unpopular president that ultimately led to his election loss.
MacArthur has refused to concede his election until every vote in the district is counted. “I have always said that I will be guided by the voters of the district and there are nearly 7,000 more of them who haven’t been heard from yet. We must ensure that their votes — and all votes — are counted in a transparent way that protects the integrity of the election,” he said in a statement last week.
Neither Democrats nor the Kim campaign have accused MacArthur of voter fraud.
Yvette Herrell, New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District
On election night in this open congressional district, Herrell went so far as to give a victory speech, before her campaign was informed that there were still several thousand ballots that had yet to be counted. What was a small lead for Herrell subsequently became a small deficit in favor of Democratic candidate Xochitl Torres Small.
That deficit has remained even as the state counts more provisional ballots, but Herrell has not yet conceded her race. In a statement, campaign senior advisor Rob Burgess said they would wait for all the outstanding provisional ballots to be counted before making a decision on whether they would ask for a recount.
In the meantime, Herrell was a guest on Fox News Saturday night, where she and host Jeanine Pirro joked about how to pronounce the name of Torres Small — a Latinx attorney and the district’s first woman elected to Congress — before accusing Democrats of conspiring to steal the election, without a shred of evidence to support their claim.
Neither Democrats nor the Torres Small campaign have accused Herrell of voter fraud.
Mia Love, Utah’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Love ended the night on Tuesday trailing her Democratic challenger Ben McAdams by nearly three percentage points, but was optimistic the ongoing counting of mail-in ballots would narrow the gap.
The first round of updates instead widened McAdam’s lead slightly before a Friday update by the board of elections showed Love making up a little of that lost ground. Heading into the weekend, she still trailed McAdams by nearly 5,000 votes.
Love and her campaign have yet to concede the race even as most news organizations have called it in favor of her challenger. In a statement issued on Friday after the latest results came in, Love said, “We were pleased to see the numbers today, but we are going to wait until every vote is counted.”
Neither Democrats nor the Ben McAdams campaign have accused Love of voter fraud. In fact, McAdams’ campaign manager Andrew Roberts thanked election officials for working to ensure a fair and accurate count of the vote, even as McAdams’ margin narrowed.