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Ron DeSantis to become Florida's next governor, 2 other races go to manual recount

Florida's race for governor appears over with Ron DeSantis holding a large enough lead over Andrew Gillum to fend off another recount. Two major races go to yet another recount.
Credit: Getty Images (top 4), News-Press (Caldwell), Florida Today (Fried)
From top left to bottom right: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Rep. Matt Caldwell, attorney Nikki Fried.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In the election that never will end, some closure: Ron DeSantis' lead over Andrew Gillum appears enough to fend off another recount and one that sends him to the Governor's mansion.

It's still a waiting game for other major candidates, however.

Ron DeSantis to become governor

Former U.S. Rep. DeSantis will be Florida’s next governor. DeSantis defeated Democrat Gillum in a race that showed him ahead of the Tallahassee mayor on election night, but the Republican's lead eventually fell below the 0.5-percent threshold to trigger a machine recount.

Florida's election watch website, with the second set of unofficial returns posted Thursday afternoon, shows DeSantis with a 0.41 percent lead over Gillum.

The latest rounding of counting found his lead enough above 0.25 percent that would have led to yet another recount -- by hand.

In a statement, DeSantis said the "returns remain clear and unambiguous, just as they were on election night." Moving on, he invites Gillum to work with him and talk about the future.

"We have both traveled the state and met Floridians from all walks of life. Sharing these experiences will, I believe, help us unite our state and build toward unity on behalf of the people of Florida," DeSantis' statement reads, in part.

Race between Scott, Nelson too close to call

The race for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, however, hasn't quite crossed the finish line. Votes counted by machine are within a 0.25-percent threshold, meaning a manual recount is required.

Unofficial results show Scott with a 0.15 percent lead over Nelson, inside the 0.25-percent margin and forcing a hand recount.

Scott, appearing confident in a favorable outcome, went to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take part in a traditional photo-op for newly-elected Republican Senators. He has not officially been named Florida's next Senator given the next round of counting.

In a statement, Scott contends he is Senator-elect and says it's time for Nelson to join him in ending the election.

"We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes – which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served," Scott said.

Florida's agriculture race still undecided

One of the state's tightest races remains between Democrat Nicole "Nikki" Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell for the next commissioner of agriculture.

Fried holds onto the slimmest of leads at 0.06 percent.

Well inside the 0.25-percent threshold, this race also will head to a hand-counted recount.

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