Florida Democrats Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson have conceded their gubernatorial and Senate races, respectively, following extended statewide recounts amid allegations of voter fraud.
"R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida," Gillum said as he stood next to his wife in a Facebook video on Saturday. "This has been the journey of our lives."
The Senate race between Nelson, the incumbent, and Republican Governor Rick Scott also underwent a recount last week, with Scott leading Nelson by just over 12,000 votes out of almost 8.2 million cast. The recount results gave Scott a lead of 10,033, according to CNN.
Nelson announced his concession to Scott in a taped statement on Sunday. "I was not victorious in this race, but I still wish to strongly reaffirm the cause for which we fought, a public office is a public trust," he said.
Gillum echoed a similar sentiment in his concession speech."This was not just about an election cycle, this was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up against in our government," Gillum said. "We know that this fight continues."
Scott said he thanked Nelson for his service, while DeSantis responded by calling upon Florida residents to come together in unity.
But while unity may be the name of the game post-election, it certainly wasn’t during the race. DeSantis was accused by Gillum of not being a racist, but someone “the racists believe [is] a racist,” as he garnered support from white supremacist groups throughout his campaign. DeSantis denied collusion with the groups. Gillum’s connection to an FBI probe into public corruption also raised questions, even though, according to Gillum, he is not the target of the investigation.
The races captured the country’s attention as they came to reflect broader nationwide fissures over race and class that have deepened since President Donald Trump’s election. Trump himself alleged voter fraud when the recounts began and accused Democrats of trying to “steal” seats, despite voter fraud being disproven multiple times by government officials, researchers, and federal courts.