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Lindsey Graham Wants Rick Scott in Senate GOP Meetings Ahead of Recount Deadlines

S.C. senator thinks Scott will win, and should take part in leadership elections

Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, campaigned with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando ahead of Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, campaigned with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando ahead of Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Florida Gov. Rick Scott should make plans to come up to D.C. to participate in next week’s Senate Republican Conference meetings.

That includes the leadership elections for the 116th Congress, which are scheduled for Wednesday morning.

“If I were Rick, I would come up and participate, absolutely. You know, once the vote total is sent to the secretary of state and he has a 13,500 vote or whatever it is lead, yes I would participate,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said. “If the recount goes, the recount goes.”

“I’m no Florida law voting expert, but I would be shocked if you could … overturn 13,500 votes in a recount,” Graham said on a Saturday conference call organized by Scott’s campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Watch: Bill Nelson Makes a Statement on Florida’s Senate Race Recount

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Speaking around the time of a noon deadline for reporting counts to the office of the secretary of state, the race was sure to head to at least a machine recount, with a Thursday afternoon deadline for those results to be reported back.

If the margin after that was below 0.25 percent of the total votes cast, a manual recount of ballots with under-votes and other machine counting issues would then take place.

Scott campaign manager Jackie Schutz Zeckman told reporters that the governor’s schedule for the week was not yet finalized, and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had no immediate updates on whether Scott or Arizona Rep. Martha McSally would be attending the Senate Republican Conference activities.

McSally has fallen behind Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema as ballot-counting continues in Arizona in the open-seat enate race there.

In Florida, Democrats are charging that Republicans do not want to see all the votes counted, but the Republicans are only getting more and more frustrated about the election administration in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Graham, who campaigned for Scott in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville on the Friday before Election Day, was the latest prominent member of the GOP to join the chorus.

“I cannot tell you how upsetting it is to have two counties in your state of Florida constantly be a problem at every level. I know the people of Florida deserve better, and quite frankly, the people of the United States deserve better,” Graham said.

Speaking of Broward County specifically, where the counting has been slow and there have been reports of ballots improperly being mixed or forgotten, Graham said it all, “just undercuts confidence in the electoral process in these two counties. And when it comes to these shenanigans, enough is enough.”

The Miami Herald reported Saturday that state observers had seen no evidence of actual illegal activity in the election administration in Broward.

For his part, Graham sought to emphasize that he did want to see all the votes counted (but more quickly than seems to be the case in the county that includes Fort Lauderdale).

“Lawyers are not going to decide this race. The voters will. I support every valid vote being counted, but I also support the rule of law when it comes to voting,” Graham said. “Broward County is in flagrant violation of Florida law, the same for Palm Beach. I’m very glad that judges weighed in here and required reporting under Florida law.”

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