This was the year Florida’s Democrats spoke ambitiously of ending their 20-year journey in political exile in this battleground state. Instead, election results after a tense and bruising recount showed Republicans coming out on top for governor and even picking up a U.S. Senate seat.

FILE- In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo a Republican observer looks at a ballot during a hand recount at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE- In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo a Republican observer looks at a ballot during a hand recount at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
This image made from video posted on Andrew Gillum's Facebook profile on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, shows him with his wife, R. Jai, at a park in Florida. In the video, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis but vowed to remain politically active although he gave no clues as his future plans. His term as Tallahassee mayor ends next week. (AP Photo)
This image made from video posted on Andrew Gillum’s Facebook profile on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, shows him with his wife, R. Jai, at a park in Florida. In the video, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis but vowed to remain politically active although he gave no clues as his future plans. His term as Tallahassee mayor ends next week. (AP Photo)
Carts of ballots wait to be fed through machines to recount about 80,000 ballots for the Florida House District 89 race between candidates Republican Mike Caruso and Democrat Jim Bonfiglio at the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)
Carts of ballots wait to be fed through machines to recount about 80,000 ballots for the Florida House District 89 race between candidates Republican Mike Caruso and Democrat Jim Bonfiglio at the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)
Election workers, right, count ballots for the House District 89 race between Republican candidate Mike Caruso and Democratic candidate Jim Bonfiglio as party volunteers, left, observe at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)
Election workers, right, count ballots for the House District 89 race between Republican candidate Mike Caruso and Democratic candidate Jim Bonfiglio as party volunteers, left, observe at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)
Republican candidate Mike Caruso, center left, celebrates with campaign manager Auston Molina, left, campaign strategist Blake MacDiarmid, center right, and attorney Robert Fernandez after hearing from Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher that they won the Florida House District 89 race against Democratic candidate Jim Bonfiglio at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)
Republican candidate Mike Caruso, center left, celebrates with campaign manager Auston Molina, left, campaign strategist Blake MacDiarmid, center right, and attorney Robert Fernandez after hearing from Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher that they won the Florida House District 89 race against Democratic candidate Jim Bonfiglio at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Riviera Beach, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (James Wooldridge/Palm Beach Post via AP)

After the recount stretched on for nearly two weeks, top Democratic candidates in the state came agonizingly close but fell short of their stated goal.

FILE- In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, file photo Florida Gov. Rick Scott arrives for a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and new GOP senators at the Capitol in Washington. Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
FILE- In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, file photo Florida Gov. Rick Scott arrives for a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and new GOP senators at the Capitol in Washington. Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
FILE- In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo workers at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office show Republican and Democrat observers ballots during a hand recount in Lauderhill, Fla. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
FILE- In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, file photo workers at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office show Republican and Democrat observers ballots during a hand recount in Lauderhill, Fla. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s contentious Senate race. Official results posted by the state on Sunday, Nov. 18, showed Scott ahead of Nelson following legally-required hand and machine recounts. State officials will certify the final totals on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes listens to reports Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at the Broward Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Broward County reported their recount results with 52 minutes to spare Sunday. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes listens to reports Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at the Broward Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Broward County reported their recount results with 52 minutes to spare Sunday. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda C. Snipes waves goodbye to the media, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at the Broward Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Broward County reported their recount results with 52 minutes to spare Sunday. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda C. Snipes waves goodbye to the media, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at the Broward Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Fla. Broward County reported their recount results with 52 minutes to spare Sunday. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Democrat Andrew Gillum says he is ending his hard-fought race for Florida governor and has congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis (Nov. 17)
Democrat Andrew Gillum says he is ending his hard-fought race for Florida governor and has congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis (Nov. 17)

Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum conceded Saturday, followed by three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson a day later. More than 8 million voters weighed in — a far higher turnout than in past midterm elections — with razor-thin results in two of the nation’s most-watched midterm elections.

Source: The Associated Press

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