Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Americans must continue to bite its nails for some time before they know whether Florida will add another Senator to the Republican caucus.
On Tuesday, most outlets were reporting either that Governor Rick Scott had defeated Bill Nelson, or that he led his opponent by about 37,000 votes. As of this writing, however, the Florida Division of Election tallies the votes in the race for the United States Senate at 4,091,417 for Governor Rick Scott and 4,074,073 for Bill Nelson, a 17,344 vote lead for Scott. But not all the votes have been counted.
First, the unofficial results do not become certified until November 10, and voting machine recounts are due on November 15. If there are any discrepancies, or if the margin is less than 0.25%, then manual recounts in those districts would be required. The next day, or November 16, the military mail-in ballots and the overseas ballots postmarked on Election Day or prior are counted. And finally, on November 20, the state would certify the official results the winner barring a court injunction.
Significantly, still absent from these tallies are the Palm Beach and Broward county vote-by-mail numbers, each of which is a Democrat stronghold. In Broward County, for example, Nelson leads with 69% of the vote and in Palm Beach County, he has a 58% advantage. In Broward County alone, there are about 30,111 votes that have not been counted. At a clip of 69% of the votes in favor of Nelson, it would result in 20,777 votes in his favor, still not enough to bring him over the top because of the 9,334 votes that would be gained by Scott keeping him in the lead by 5,901 votes. The Federalist Pages was unable to verify how many votes were still missing in Palm Beach County.
There are also provisional votes to be counted; 989 in Miami where Nelson has a 60% margin translating to 386 votes for Scott and 603 for Nelson. In Hillsborough, where Nelson has a 54% lead, there are 760 votes outstanding giving 410 votes to Nelson and 340 to Scott. In Polk, Scott has a 57% lead with 497 votes left to be counted bringing 285 votes to Scott and 211 to Nelson. In Pasco, Scott has a 57% lead with 180 votes remaining meaning 103 more votes for Scott and 77 more for Nelson. In Brevard, there are 285 votes remaining, and Scott carries 57% of the vote earning him 162 more votes to Nelson's 123. And finally, in Orange County, where Nelson has a 62% advantage, there are 401 votes remaining, giving him 264 more votes to 137.
Tallying it all up Nelson earns 4,096,538 votes to Scott's 4,098,731.
Of course, to these numbers, we would have to add the Palm Beach County numbers. But also remaining is the great equalizer, the military mail-in vote, of approximately 22,000 members who ought to break strongly in favor of Scott.
Taking all these factors into consideration, The Federalist Pages predicts Rick Scott will ultimately retain his lead by a margin of less than 0.25% of the vote and will be Florida's next Senator.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.