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Republican Rick Scott wins US Senate race in Florida, defeating incumbent Bill Nelson

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott is shown greeting people during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 06, 2018 in Naples, Florida. Governor Scott defeated Sen. Bill Nelson for the Florida Senate seat. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican Rick Scott has defeated Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the Florida Senate race following an extended and heated recount process, elections officials announced Sunday.

What's the final tally?

Scott, the state’s outgoing governor, won by 10,033 votes out of 8.19 million cast statewide, Reuters news reported. Scott had 50.05 percent of votes, compared to 49.93 percent for Nelson.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” Scott said in a statement.

His statement concluded, “Let’s get to work.”

Nelson, who was first elected to the Senate in 2000, was expected to issue a statement later in the day on Sunday.

The final tally made Nelson the latest incumbent Democratic senator to lose in a midterm election that saw Republicans expand their majority in the Senate but lose control in the House.

Other defeated Democratic senators included Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri. On Saturday, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally.

The 65-year-old Scott entered politics after earning a fortune as a healthcare executive. He won the governorship of Florida in 2010 and 2014 by about 1 percent of the vote.

State law stopped Scott from becoming governor for a third term.

Following the election, he emerged with a lead of less than 0.5 percentage points. that prompted a recount of the ballots. Some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, alleged the election was marred by fraud.

Following the election, top Democratic attorneys flooded into the state because of the tight margin. Nelson's campaign sued to extend the deadline statewide and it asked for a recount of all ballots in Palm Beach County.

Did much change?

In the end, the hand recount did not change the final margin of the race by much.

Nelson, 76, first entered Florida politics by winning a state legislature seat in 1972, Reuters reported. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and has held state Cabinet posts.

One last thing…
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