United States News Guam Most Florida GOP voters, leaders say election not over...

Most Florida GOP voters, leaders say election not over until lawsuits, fraud claims resolved

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(The Center Square) — Florida Republican leaders and many of the state’s GOP voters are waiting for pending court cases, which include Trump campaign allegations of fraud, to be resolved in courts across several states before acknowledging Democrat Joe Biden as president-eect.

There were few organized Florida demonstrations this weekend by supporters of President Donald Trump after Saturday’s call by major media outlets that Biden had won the 2020 presidential election.

About 100 Trump supporters were staging a “Stop The Vote” rally at the Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee Saturday. After Biden was declared the winner by media outlets, the event morphed into a “Stop The Steal” rally.

The weekend’s “wait-and-see” pause could dissipate into begrudging acceptance by most Florida Republicans or produce large demonstrations this week across the state and the nation depending on how runoffs in at least two states and lawsuits in as many as 10 states are handled.

Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, citing Trump campaign allegations of fraud, called on lawmakers in Republican-controlled legislatures in states Biden won – namely, Pennsylvania, but also Michigan and Wisconsin – to negate the state’s popular vote and select their own “faithless electors” who would vote for Trump when the Electoral College convenes Dec. 14.

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DeSantis has said little since. Republican Florida Cabinet members Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have not acknowledged Biden as the winner while congratulating others in Tuesday’s election.

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Florida GOP Chair Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, retweeted the Trump campaign’s statement that the president wouldn’t concede but has focused on celebrating Tuesday’s big wins for state Republicans, who not only secured a 400,000-vote win for Trump but flipped two congressional seats, five state House seats and – depending how a runoff turns out – a state Senate seat.

None of Florida’s 14 Republican congressional representatives, nor its two new GOP U.S. representatives-elect, through the weekend conceded the presidential race.

“Votes are still being counted in several states w. close elections. Before the press names a new President we should let legal & vote counting process continue & let the states certify their result,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. “Then, & only then, will we know who will be sworn in as Pres. on Jan. 20, 2021.”

Florida’s two Republican U.S. senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, issued similar statements.

“The voters get to decide who the president is,” Scott said. “This is a close race and Donald Trump will and should use every avenue at his disposal to make sure every legal vote is counted.”

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Scott thought differently two years ago when the term-limited governor defeated incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by 10,330 votes in a prolonged election that featured a runoff, lawsuits and counter-suits by both candidates.

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“Be remembered as the statesman who graciously conceded after 42 years of public service,” Scott called on Nelson during their disputed November 2018 election’s even more disputed post-election proceedings, “or be remembered as the sore loser who refused to face the people he served.”

Two notable Florida Republicans acknowledged Biden’s victory over the weekend, former Gov. Jeb Bush and retiring U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples.

A Saturday survey of 550 GOP voters in Rooney’s Southwest Florida’s 19th Congressional District (CD 19) – he’ll be succeeded by former state Rep. Byron Donalds in January – indicates his core constituency disagrees.

According to the survey by Victory Insights, a Naples-based polling firm, 67 percent said the Trump campaign should pursue “any and all legal remedies available to maintain his position as President” and 29 percent said Trump should concede.

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