U.S. District Judge Mark Walker upheld Florida law that “forbids county election offices from counting vote-by-mail ballots received after 7 p.m. Election Day.”

This was the last best hope for Democrats after suffering several setbacks in recent days, including Florida Governor Rick Scott gaining over 800 votes in the mandatory recount, yet as of this writing Nelson has yet to concede.

Politico reports:

Sen. Bill Nelson has run out of time, run out of favorable court rulings and is about to officially run out of votes.

After losing to Gov. Rick Scott on Election Day, losing after an automatic recount and appearing to not make up the gap following a manual recount Friday, Nelson’s campaign was dealt a mortal blow later that evening by U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker, who crushed the Democrat’s last major hope by upholding a Florida law that forbids county election offices from counting vote-by-mail ballots received after 7 p.m. Election Day.

“It’s done. But it was done before today. This was a total Hail Mary,” said a top Democrat involved in Nelson’s campaign who didn’t want to speak publicly before the Democratic Party icon conceded defeat to one of the party’s most-hated rivals.

. . . . While party officials refused to discuss the hopelessness of the situation on the record, the Florida Democratic Party on Friday continued to fundraise off the recount, suggesting to donors that Nelson had a shot when his own top backers knew he didn’t.

. . . . “The votes weren’t there. It was bad ballot design,” said Democratic data analyst Matt Isbell, who first raised the issue of the undervotes after Election Night. “Nelson has no path.”

According to Politico, Nelson on Friday “gave an emotional ‘thank you’ speech to staff earlier in the day ‘but it was more of a goodbye,’ said yet another top Florida Democrat connected to Nelson’s re-election.

Scott’s campaign is calling on Nelson to concede or to withdraw from the race.

The New York Times reports:

“It looks like this is the end of the line for the Nelson campaign. He was really relying on this undercount being due to machine error which, if that were the case, would have revealed more Senate votes,” said Matthew Isbell, a Democratic data consultant from South Florida. “Considering how blue Broward is, it would have netted him thousands of additional votes. Without Broward, there is no obvious way he can make the votes up.”

Mr. Scott’s campaign quickly came to a similar conclusion. “With the hand recount concluding in most counties across the state showing no significant change in the margin, it’s time for Bill Nelson to face reality and concede,” Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the Scott campaign, said in a statement.

Mr. Nelson’s campaign has not commented on the progress of the manual recount. But he was said to be huddling with his advisers, who are becoming increasingly pessimistic, and he could decide to drop out of the race in the next few days, two people close to the campaign told The New York Times.

We’ll update as more information becomes available.


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