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Trump Gives Himself an A+ as President

Nearly halfway through his four-year term in the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump says he thinks of himself in the top rung of American presidents.

“I would give myself an A+,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. “Can I go higher than that?”

But the U.S. leader, in a White House interview taped Friday and aired Sunday, made a rare acknowledgement of an error in judgment, saying he should have gone last Monday to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the country’s annual Veterans Day honoring those who have served in the U.S. armed forces or are currently serving in one of its military branches.

“In retrospect, I should have,” Trump told interviewer Chris Wallace. The U.S. leader, who has yet to visit U.S. troops in any war zones overseas, also said, “There are things that are being planned. I will be doing that.” He declined to say when such a visit might occur because of security concerns.

In the November 6 nationwide congressional and state elections, opposition Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years and captured key governor’s races in industrial states that were vital to Trump’s 2016 election as president. National political surveys show Americans disapprove of his White House performance by a 52.9 to 43.3 percent margin, according to an average of polls by Real Clear Politics.

But Trump took no blame for the losses because his name was not on the ballot, even though he told several political rallies ahead of the elections that voters ought to look at the voting that way, as a referendum on his policies and performance during the first 22 months of his presidency.

“I won the Senate and that’s historic, too,” Trump said. “That’s a tremendous victory.” Trump’s Republican party could add two seats to its current 51-49 majority bloc in the Senate, when two close contests are decided.

Trump said Republicans also “had a tremendous set of victories” by winning governorships in the southern states of Georgia and Florida and the midwestern state of Ohio, even as Democrats won governorships in other electoral battlegrounds, including the key midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin that had been held by Republicans.

As for the electoral losses, Trump said, “I didn’t run. My name wasn’t on the ballot. I had people that wouldn’t vote because I wasn’t on the ballot.”

Trump is already deep in planning for his 2020 re-election bid, while a long list of Democrats are considering whether to seek their party’s presidential nomination to oppose him.  

 

 

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Trump Gives Himself an A+ as President

Nearly halfway through his four-year term in the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump says he thinks of himself in the top rung of American presidents.

“I would give myself an A+,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. “Can I go higher than that?”

But the U.S. leader, in a White House interview taped Friday and aired Sunday, made a rare acknowledgement of an error in judgment, saying he should have gone last Monday to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the country’s annual Veterans Day honoring those who have served in the U.S. armed forces or are currently serving in one of its military branches.

“In retrospect, I should have,” Trump told interviewer Chris Wallace. The U.S. leader, who has yet to visit U.S. troops in any war zones overseas, also said, “There are things that are being planned. I will be doing that.” He declined to say when such a visit might occur because of security concerns.

In the November 6 nationwide congressional and state elections, opposition Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years and captured key governor’s races in industrial states that were vital to Trump’s 2016 election as president. National political surveys show Americans disapprove of his White House performance by a 52.9 to 43.3 percent margin, according to an average of polls by Real Clear Politics.

But Trump took no blame for the losses because his name was not on the ballot, even though he told several political rallies ahead of the elections that voters ought to look at the voting that way, as a referendum on his policies and performance during the first 22 months of his presidency.

“I won the Senate and that’s historic, too,” Trump said. “That’s a tremendous victory.” Trump’s Republican party could add two seats to its current 51-49 majority bloc in the Senate, when two close contests are decided.

Trump said Republicans also “had a tremendous set of victories” by winning governorships in the southern states of Georgia and Florida and the midwestern state of Ohio, even as Democrats won governorships in other electoral battlegrounds, including the key midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin that had been held by Republicans.

As for the electoral losses, Trump said, “I didn’t run. My name wasn’t on the ballot. I had people that wouldn’t vote because I wasn’t on the ballot.”

Trump is already deep in planning for his 2020 re-election bid, while a long list of Democrats are considering whether to seek their party’s presidential nomination to oppose him.  

 

 

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California Governor Lauds Trump for Not Cutting Funding Amid Fires

California’s governor expressed optimism Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump would support the state as it battles one of the worst wildfires in its history.

Following Trump’s visit to California the day before, Democratic governor Jerry Brown said that the president has “got our back” and has pledged to continue to help in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“The president not only has signed a presidential declaration giving California substantial funding, but he said and pledged very specifically to continue to help us, that he’s got our back,” Brown said. “And I thought that was a very positive thing.”

Brown also suggested in Sunday’s interview that California’s wildfires will make the most ardent of climate change skeptics believers in the coming years.

Trump visited California Saturday to get a close-up look at the widespread damage that raging wildfires have inflicted on the state. He flew from Washington to California and back to Washington in one day.

“Nobody would have ever thought this could have happened,” he said to reporters after walking through burned-out ruins in the Northern California town of Paradise. “It’s like total devastation.”

At least 9,700 homes were destroyed in the flames and 76 people have died. More than 1,000 people are missing. The blaze known as the Camp Fire is now the deadliest one in California history. More than 5,500 firefighters are still trying to bring it under control. “I think people have to see this really to understand it,” Trump said.

Trump was accompanied on his visit by Paradise Mayor Jody Jones, California Governor Brown, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, and Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long.

He pledged to the California officials the support of the federal government, saying, “We’re all going to work together.” He vowed also to work with environmental groups on better forest management and added, “Hopefully this is going to be the last of these because this was a really, really bad one.”

But when asked if the fire had changed his mind on climate change, Trump said, “No, no.” He said he believes a lot of factors are to blame.

The president also visited a local command center in Chico, California, and praised the firefighters and other first responders. “You folks have been incredible,” he said, adding that those battling the flames are “fighting like hell.”

More than a week after the blaze erupted and raced through Paradise, the fire has burned about 590 square kilometers and is about 50 percent contained, officials said.

Woolsey fire

Late afternoon, Trump landed in Southern California, where the Woolsey Fire has burned nearly 390 square kilometers. Fire officials say the blaze had been about 60 percent contained by Friday. Evacuated residents are returning to the area.

En route from Northern to Southern California, Trump told reporters he had not discussed climate change with Governor Brown and Governor-elect Newsom, both of whom accompanied him on the flight.

“We have different views,” Trump said. “But maybe not as different as people think.”

On the same issue, Brown told reporters, “We’ll let science determine this over a longer period of time. Right now we’re collaborating on the most immediate response and that’s very important.”

Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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California Governor Lauds Trump for Not Cutting Funding Amid Fires

California’s governor expressed optimism Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump would support the state as it battles one of the worst wildfires in its history.

Following Trump’s visit to California the day before, Democratic governor Jerry Brown said that the president has “got our back” and has pledged to continue to help in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“The president not only has signed a presidential declaration giving California substantial funding, but he said and pledged very specifically to continue to help us, that he’s got our back,” Brown said. “And I thought that was a very positive thing.”

Brown also suggested in Sunday’s interview that California’s wildfires will make the most ardent of climate change skeptics believers in the coming years.

Trump visited California Saturday to get a close-up look at the widespread damage that raging wildfires have inflicted on the state. He flew from Washington to California and back to Washington in one day.

“Nobody would have ever thought this could have happened,” he said to reporters after walking through burned-out ruins in the Northern California town of Paradise. “It’s like total devastation.”

At least 9,700 homes were destroyed in the flames and 76 people have died. More than 1,000 people are missing. The blaze known as the Camp Fire is now the deadliest one in California history. More than 5,500 firefighters are still trying to bring it under control. “I think people have to see this really to understand it,” Trump said.

Trump was accompanied on his visit by Paradise Mayor Jody Jones, California Governor Brown, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, and Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long.

He pledged to the California officials the support of the federal government, saying, “We’re all going to work together.” He vowed also to work with environmental groups on better forest management and added, “Hopefully this is going to be the last of these because this was a really, really bad one.”

But when asked if the fire had changed his mind on climate change, Trump said, “No, no.” He said he believes a lot of factors are to blame.

The president also visited a local command center in Chico, California, and praised the firefighters and other first responders. “You folks have been incredible,” he said, adding that those battling the flames are “fighting like hell.”

More than a week after the blaze erupted and raced through Paradise, the fire has burned about 590 square kilometers and is about 50 percent contained, officials said.

Woolsey fire

Late afternoon, Trump landed in Southern California, where the Woolsey Fire has burned nearly 390 square kilometers. Fire officials say the blaze had been about 60 percent contained by Friday. Evacuated residents are returning to the area.

En route from Northern to Southern California, Trump told reporters he had not discussed climate change with Governor Brown and Governor-elect Newsom, both of whom accompanied him on the flight.

“We have different views,” Trump said. “But maybe not as different as people think.”

On the same issue, Brown told reporters, “We’ll let science determine this over a longer period of time. Right now we’re collaborating on the most immediate response and that’s very important.”

Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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GOP Legislatures Look to Curb Democratic Governors’ Power

With their grip on power set to loosen come January, Republicans in several states are considering last-ditch laws that would weaken existing or incoming Democratic governors and advance their own conservative agendas.

In Michigan, where the GOP has held the levers of power for nearly eight years, Republican legislators want to water down a minimum wage law they approved before the election so that it would not go to voters and would now be easier to amend.

Republicans in neighboring Wisconsin are discussing ways to dilute Democrat Tony Evers’ power before he takes over for GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

And in North Carolina, Republicans may try to hash out the requirements of a new voter ID constitutional amendment before they lose their legislative supermajorities and their ability to unilaterally override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Republicans downplay the tactics and point out that Democrats have also run lame-duck sessions, including in Wisconsin in 2010 before Walker took office and the GOP took control of the Legislature. But some of the steps Republicans are expected to take will almost surely be challenged in court, and critics say such maneuvers undermine the political system and the will of the people, who voted for change. 

“It’s something that smacks every Michigan voter in the face and tells them that this Republican Party doesn’t care about their voice, their perspective,” House Democratic Leader Sam Singh said of the strategizing to control the fate of minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements.​

​Statewide sweeps

The moves would follow midterm elections in which Democrats swept statewide offices in Michigan and Wisconsin for the first time in decades but fell short of taking over their gerrymandered legislatures. That gives Republicans a final shot to lock in new policies, with Democrats unable to undo them anytime soon.

Michigan’s new minimum wage and sick time laws began as ballot drives but because they were preemptively adopted by lawmakers in September rather than by voters, they can be altered with simple majority votes rather than the support of three-fourths of both chambers.

One measure would gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and increase a lower wage for tipped workers until it is in line with the minimum. The other would require that employees qualify for between 40 and 72 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the size of their employer.

It is unclear how the laws may be changed to appease an anxious business lobby. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says mandatory sick time, 10 other states also require it, will place “severe compliance burdens” on employers, including those with paid leave policies currently in place. The group also is urging lawmakers to “be pragmatic, not extreme” and revisit the wage hikes that would make Michigan’s minimum the highest in the Midwest.

Republicans seem unfazed by criticism that scaling back the measures would thwart the will of voters who resoundingly elected Democrat Gretchen Whitmer to replace GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, who reached his term limit. The Michigan Senate’s majority leader, Arlan Meekhof, said changes to the laws are needed to “continue to keep our economy on track and not put a roadblock or hindrance” in the way of businesses.

Lame-duck sessions

Lame-duck sessions, which are commonplace in Congress but rare among many state legislatures, are frenetic, as legislators rush to consider bills that are controversial or were put on the back burner during election season. Michigan’s 2012 session, for example, produced right-to-work laws and a contentious revised emergency manager statute for cities in financial peril, despite voters having just repealed the previous law.

The lame-duck period may be especially intense this year in Michigan and Wisconsin because they are among just four states in which Republicans are losing full control the governorship and both legislative chambers. Lawmakers in the other two states, Kansas and New Hampshire, will not convene until next year.

Six states with a split government now will be fully controlled by Democrats in 2019, and Alaska will be fully controlled by Republicans.

On GOP agendas

Wisconsin Republicans plan to consider a variety of ways to protect laws enacted by Walker. Those include limiting Evers’ ability to make appointments, restricting his authority over the rule-making process and making it more difficult for him to block a work requirement for Medicaid recipients. They might also change the date of the 2020 presidential primary so that a Walker-appointed state Supreme Court justice has better odds to win election.

In North Carolina, GOP legislators may use the session for more than approving additional bipartisan Hurricane Florence relief. They are expected to implement a voter photo ID requirement passed this month by the electorate and to consider other legislation that the Democratic governor would be powerless to stop until Republicans can no longer easily override his vetoes come 2019.

Two years ago, they reduced Cooper’s powers before he took office. He successfully sued over a law that diminished his role in managing elections. Other suits remain pending.

Michigan’s outgoing governor, Snyder, hasn’t weighed in on the plan to amend the minimum wage and sick leave laws, which would require his signature, unlike when they were passed. He is trying to persuade his fellow Republicans to boost and add new fees for environmental cleanup and water infrastructure upgrades, and he wants the Legislature to help facilitate a deal to drill an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The agreement is opposed by Whitmer and the state’s Democratic Attorney General-elect, Dana Nessel.

Supporters of the existing wage and sick time laws have been mobilizing to keep them intact. MI Time to Care, the campaign backing guaranteed paid time off for workers who are sick or need to stay home with an ill family member, launched ads, mailed postcards and went door to door before the election reminding people of their rights under the law that is scheduled to take effect in March.

Chairwoman Danielle Atkinson said the sick leave proposal would have been approved in a “landslide” if it had been on the ballot.

“It’s clearly why the Legislature moved to pass it, and now they should uphold it as the promise that they made to the voters,” she said.

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GOP Legislatures Look to Curb Democratic Governors’ Power

With their grip on power set to loosen come January, Republicans in several states are considering last-ditch laws that would weaken existing or incoming Democratic governors and advance their own conservative agendas.

In Michigan, where the GOP has held the levers of power for nearly eight years, Republican legislators want to water down a minimum wage law they approved before the election so that it would not go to voters and would now be easier to amend.

Republicans in neighboring Wisconsin are discussing ways to dilute Democrat Tony Evers’ power before he takes over for GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

And in North Carolina, Republicans may try to hash out the requirements of a new voter ID constitutional amendment before they lose their legislative supermajorities and their ability to unilaterally override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Republicans downplay the tactics and point out that Democrats have also run lame-duck sessions, including in Wisconsin in 2010 before Walker took office and the GOP took control of the Legislature. But some of the steps Republicans are expected to take will almost surely be challenged in court, and critics say such maneuvers undermine the political system and the will of the people, who voted for change. 

“It’s something that smacks every Michigan voter in the face and tells them that this Republican Party doesn’t care about their voice, their perspective,” House Democratic Leader Sam Singh said of the strategizing to control the fate of minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements.​

​Statewide sweeps

The moves would follow midterm elections in which Democrats swept statewide offices in Michigan and Wisconsin for the first time in decades but fell short of taking over their gerrymandered legislatures. That gives Republicans a final shot to lock in new policies, with Democrats unable to undo them anytime soon.

Michigan’s new minimum wage and sick time laws began as ballot drives but because they were preemptively adopted by lawmakers in September rather than by voters, they can be altered with simple majority votes rather than the support of three-fourths of both chambers.

One measure would gradually raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and increase a lower wage for tipped workers until it is in line with the minimum. The other would require that employees qualify for between 40 and 72 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the size of their employer.

It is unclear how the laws may be changed to appease an anxious business lobby. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says mandatory sick time, 10 other states also require it, will place “severe compliance burdens” on employers, including those with paid leave policies currently in place. The group also is urging lawmakers to “be pragmatic, not extreme” and revisit the wage hikes that would make Michigan’s minimum the highest in the Midwest.

Republicans seem unfazed by criticism that scaling back the measures would thwart the will of voters who resoundingly elected Democrat Gretchen Whitmer to replace GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, who reached his term limit. The Michigan Senate’s majority leader, Arlan Meekhof, said changes to the laws are needed to “continue to keep our economy on track and not put a roadblock or hindrance” in the way of businesses.

Lame-duck sessions

Lame-duck sessions, which are commonplace in Congress but rare among many state legislatures, are frenetic, as legislators rush to consider bills that are controversial or were put on the back burner during election season. Michigan’s 2012 session, for example, produced right-to-work laws and a contentious revised emergency manager statute for cities in financial peril, despite voters having just repealed the previous law.

The lame-duck period may be especially intense this year in Michigan and Wisconsin because they are among just four states in which Republicans are losing full control the governorship and both legislative chambers. Lawmakers in the other two states, Kansas and New Hampshire, will not convene until next year.

Six states with a split government now will be fully controlled by Democrats in 2019, and Alaska will be fully controlled by Republicans.

On GOP agendas

Wisconsin Republicans plan to consider a variety of ways to protect laws enacted by Walker. Those include limiting Evers’ ability to make appointments, restricting his authority over the rule-making process and making it more difficult for him to block a work requirement for Medicaid recipients. They might also change the date of the 2020 presidential primary so that a Walker-appointed state Supreme Court justice has better odds to win election.

In North Carolina, GOP legislators may use the session for more than approving additional bipartisan Hurricane Florence relief. They are expected to implement a voter photo ID requirement passed this month by the electorate and to consider other legislation that the Democratic governor would be powerless to stop until Republicans can no longer easily override his vetoes come 2019.

Two years ago, they reduced Cooper’s powers before he took office. He successfully sued over a law that diminished his role in managing elections. Other suits remain pending.

Michigan’s outgoing governor, Snyder, hasn’t weighed in on the plan to amend the minimum wage and sick leave laws, which would require his signature, unlike when they were passed. He is trying to persuade his fellow Republicans to boost and add new fees for environmental cleanup and water infrastructure upgrades, and he wants the Legislature to help facilitate a deal to drill an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The agreement is opposed by Whitmer and the state’s Democratic Attorney General-elect, Dana Nessel.

Supporters of the existing wage and sick time laws have been mobilizing to keep them intact. MI Time to Care, the campaign backing guaranteed paid time off for workers who are sick or need to stay home with an ill family member, launched ads, mailed postcards and went door to door before the election reminding people of their rights under the law that is scheduled to take effect in March.

Chairwoman Danielle Atkinson said the sick leave proposal would have been approved in a “landslide” if it had been on the ballot.

“It’s clearly why the Legislature moved to pass it, and now they should uphold it as the promise that they made to the voters,” she said.

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Democrats Take Southern California GOP Stronghold

Democrat Gil Cisneros captured a Republican-held U.S. House seat in Southern California on Saturday, capping a Democratic rout in which the party picked up six congressional seats in the state.

In what had been the last undecided House contest in California, Cisneros beat Republican Young Kim for the state’s 39th District seat. The Cisneros victory cements a stunning political realignment that will leave a vast stretch of the Los Angeles metropolitan area under Democratic control in the House.

With Kim’s defeat, four Republican-held House districts all or partly in Orange County, California, a one-time nationally known GOP stronghold southeast of Los Angeles, will have shifted in one election to the Democratic column. The change means that the county — Richard Nixon’s birthplace and site of his presidential library — will only have Democrats representing its residents in Washington next year.

Democrats also recently picked up the last Republican-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County, when Democrat Katie Hill ousted Republican Rep. Steve Knight.

With other gains, Republicans also lost a seat in the agricultural Central Valley, Democrats will hold a 45-8 edge in California U.S. House seats next year.

The district was one of seven targeted by Democrats across California after Hillary Clinton carried them in the 2016 presidential election.

​Kim couldn’t shake Trump

Cisneros, 47, a $266 million lottery jackpot winner, had been locked in a close race with Kim in a district that has grown increasingly diverse. It’s about equally divided between Republicans, Democrats and independents, as it is with Asians, Hispanics and whites.

Kim, 55, a former state legislator, worked for years for retiring Republican Rep. Ed Royce, who is vacating the seat and had endorsed her.

In a state where President Donald Trump is unpopular, Kim sought to create distance with the White House on trade and health care. Her immigrant background — and gender — made her stand out in a political party whose leaders in Washington are mostly older white men.

“I’m a different kind of candidate,” she had said.

It wasn’t enough. Democratic ads depicted her as a Trump underling, eager to carry out his agenda.

Cisneros first-time candidate

Cisneros, a first-time candidate, described his interest in Congress as an extension of his time in the military — he said it was about public service. He runs a charitable foundation with his wife.

On health care, he talked about his mother who went without insurance for 16 years.

“That should just not happen in this country,” he had said.

While the election delivered mixed results around the U.S., it affirmed California’s reputation as a Democratic fortress.

Democrats are on track to hold every statewide office — again. The party holds a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature and a 3.7-million advantage in voter registration.

There wasn’t even a Republican on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

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Democrats Take Southern California GOP Stronghold

Democrat Gil Cisneros captured a Republican-held U.S. House seat in Southern California on Saturday, capping a Democratic rout in which the party picked up six congressional seats in the state.

In what had been the last undecided House contest in California, Cisneros beat Republican Young Kim for the state’s 39th District seat. The Cisneros victory cements a stunning political realignment that will leave a vast stretch of the Los Angeles metropolitan area under Democratic control in the House.

With Kim’s defeat, four Republican-held House districts all or partly in Orange County, California, a one-time nationally known GOP stronghold southeast of Los Angeles, will have shifted in one election to the Democratic column. The change means that the county — Richard Nixon’s birthplace and site of his presidential library — will only have Democrats representing its residents in Washington next year.

Democrats also recently picked up the last Republican-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County, when Democrat Katie Hill ousted Republican Rep. Steve Knight.

With other gains, Republicans also lost a seat in the agricultural Central Valley, Democrats will hold a 45-8 edge in California U.S. House seats next year.

The district was one of seven targeted by Democrats across California after Hillary Clinton carried them in the 2016 presidential election.

​Kim couldn’t shake Trump

Cisneros, 47, a $266 million lottery jackpot winner, had been locked in a close race with Kim in a district that has grown increasingly diverse. It’s about equally divided between Republicans, Democrats and independents, as it is with Asians, Hispanics and whites.

Kim, 55, a former state legislator, worked for years for retiring Republican Rep. Ed Royce, who is vacating the seat and had endorsed her.

In a state where President Donald Trump is unpopular, Kim sought to create distance with the White House on trade and health care. Her immigrant background — and gender — made her stand out in a political party whose leaders in Washington are mostly older white men.

“I’m a different kind of candidate,” she had said.

It wasn’t enough. Democratic ads depicted her as a Trump underling, eager to carry out his agenda.

Cisneros first-time candidate

Cisneros, a first-time candidate, described his interest in Congress as an extension of his time in the military — he said it was about public service. He runs a charitable foundation with his wife.

On health care, he talked about his mother who went without insurance for 16 years.

“That should just not happen in this country,” he had said.

While the election delivered mixed results around the U.S., it affirmed California’s reputation as a Democratic fortress.

Democrats are on track to hold every statewide office — again. The party holds a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature and a 3.7-million advantage in voter registration.

There wasn’t even a Republican on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

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Clock Ticks Toward Sunday Deadline for Florida Recounts

The Sunday deadline for the end of the Florida election recounts is approaching, with Republican Gov. Rick Scott continuing to hold a lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson for a seat in the U.S. Senate. 

As of Saturday afternoon, Nelson trailed by about 12,000 votes, with no major changes expected. 

The Florida governor’s race was essentially decided after a machine recount Thursday resulted in a 0.4 percentage-point lead for Republican Ron DeSantis over Democrat Andrew Gillum, enough of a margin to avoid a hand recount. Florida law requires a hand recount if a machine count finds the margin of victory is less than 0.25 percent.

Gillum conceded the race Saturday afternoon, posting a video on Facebook in which he congratulated DeSantis on the win. DeSantis’ campaign did not immediately respond to the announcement.

Florida counties have until noon on Sunday to finish their hand recounts. The race for state agriculture commissioner between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell also was undergoing a recount. 

On Friday, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s governor’s race, ended her challenge in the closely fought election but vowed to bring a lawsuit against what she called the state’s “gross mismanagement” of the vote. 

Abrams told a news conference on Friday, “Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession” to Republican Brian Kemp. She acknowledged, however, that she had no further recourse under the law to fight the election results.  

In accepting Abrams’ decision to end her campaign, Kemp said, “Hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward.” He praised Abrams’ “passion, hard work and commitment to public service.” 

The close race drew national attention in part because of Abrams’ effort to become the first African-American female U.S. governor. Election officials said voter turnout was nearly as high as it was in the 2016 presidential race. 

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Clock Ticks Toward Sunday Deadline for Florida Recounts

The Sunday deadline for the end of the Florida election recounts is approaching, with Republican Gov. Rick Scott continuing to hold a lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson for a seat in the U.S. Senate. 

As of Saturday afternoon, Nelson trailed by about 12,000 votes, with no major changes expected. 

The Florida governor’s race was essentially decided after a machine recount Thursday resulted in a 0.4 percentage-point lead for Republican Ron DeSantis over Democrat Andrew Gillum, enough of a margin to avoid a hand recount. Florida law requires a hand recount if a machine count finds the margin of victory is less than 0.25 percent.

Gillum conceded the race Saturday afternoon, posting a video on Facebook in which he congratulated DeSantis on the win. DeSantis’ campaign did not immediately respond to the announcement.

Florida counties have until noon on Sunday to finish their hand recounts. The race for state agriculture commissioner between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell also was undergoing a recount. 

On Friday, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate in Georgia’s governor’s race, ended her challenge in the closely fought election but vowed to bring a lawsuit against what she called the state’s “gross mismanagement” of the vote. 

Abrams told a news conference on Friday, “Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession” to Republican Brian Kemp. She acknowledged, however, that she had no further recourse under the law to fight the election results.  

In accepting Abrams’ decision to end her campaign, Kemp said, “Hardworking Georgians are ready to move forward.” He praised Abrams’ “passion, hard work and commitment to public service.” 

The close race drew national attention in part because of Abrams’ effort to become the first African-American female U.S. governor. Election officials said voter turnout was nearly as high as it was in the 2016 presidential race. 

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