Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s senior campaign adviser, Brad Todd, repeatedly refused to commit to certifying the results of Florida’s US Senate election, during CNN interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning, if Scott ends up losing in a recount to Democrat Bill Nelson.
“You talk about having to make a decision — the governor has a decision to make,” CNN’s Chris Cuomo said to Todd on Monday night. “Is he going to do that [certify the results] or will he recuse himself, because of his own conflict in this?”
“The governor respects the process. He respects the law in Florida,” Todd said.
“Even if he loses?” Cuomo interjected.
“He’s not going to lose unless they steal it from him in court,” Todd replied. “The governor is going to be the senator.”
Todd was pressed about those comments hours later during an interview with CNN’s John Berman, and he again refused to commit to Scott certifying the election results.
“Well John, I’m also not going to answer whether Rick Scott is gonna win the Heisman Trophy, because he’s not. But he is gonna be the senator from Florida,” Todd said, before going on to falsely claim that Scott “has won the election.”
On CNN, Brad Todd, senior adviser to Rick Scott, repeatedly refuses to confirm that Scott would certify election results if Bill Nelson wins recount.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 13, 2018
"I'm also not going to answer whether Rick Scott is gonna win the Heisman Trophy, b/c he's not. But he is gonna be the senator." pic.twitter.com/dNs5Q4iJzq
The results of the recount won’t be known until after it ends on Thursday. Todd’s comments leave open the possibility that Nelson wins, but Scott has repeatedly insisted that he is the winner, regardless of what happens with a recount.
Scott has already shown a willingness to exploit his current office for political gain. During a news conference held from the governor’s mansion last Thursday evening, Scott called for state law enforcement agencies to investigate elections officials in two Democratic-leaning counties that took longer than others to tally their ballots.
“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott said, without providing any evidence for his claims. “Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding votes until the election turns out the way they want ... left-wing activists have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere.”
Although Florida law enforcement and elections officials have repeatedly indicated they’ve seen no evidence of fraud, Scott and other prominent Republicans continue to baselessly claim Nelson and his lawyers are trying to “steal” the election through a recount process that was required by Florida law.
Scott’s evidence-free howls about election fraud have been echoed by President Trump. On Tuesday, Trump suggested Democrats in Broward and Palm Beach counties are fabricating ballots. Again, there is no reason to believe they are.
When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida? The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to “find” enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
A number of groups have called on Scott to recuse himself from the recount process due to his obvious conflict of interest, but he’s refused. The Florida Democratic Party released a statement comparing his behavior with “Latin American dictators who have overthrown Democracies in Venezuela and Cuba.”
“The Governor is using his position to consolidate power by cutting at the very core of our Democracy,” it adds.