Votes are still being counted in Florida's Senate race, but Republican Rick Scott doesn't seem to think their votes actually matter.
The outcome of the Senate race in Florida is not yet known, but Republican Rick Scott is play-acting the role of “senator-elect.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is helping his fellow Republican’s act of delusion.
Florida election officials are recounting votes in the contest between Scott, the state’s outgoing governor, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott currently has a lead of only 0.15 percent, according to unofficial results. Florida law calls for a machine recount for margins below half a percent.
But that isn’t stopping Scott from prematurely declaring victory. He has gone on a media blitz, with multiple appearances on Fox News, attempting to undermine the effort. Without evidence, he has accused Nelson of trying to steal the election. Nelson has called for all votes cast to be counted.
Lawyers working for Scott have also been trying to limit how votes can be counted in the contest.
Trump has weighed in on Scott’s side and has pushed for an end to the recount effort, even though it would disqualify military votes.
Nelson has not conceded, and Scott has seen his lead shrink since election night.
Now to compound the problem, Scott has declared himself “senator-elect,” and his campaign told NBC News he will “be traveling to DC this week to participate in some new-member orientation activities, including the photo, and will be voting in leadership elections.”
Scott can’t just show up, declare himself senator-elect, and start casting votes. Not without McConnell’s permission.
But of course McConnell is all to happy to help Scott try to pull off this charade.
McConnell delays Tuesday photo-op with new GOP senators til Wednesday, allowing Rick Scott a chance to participate in that and leadership elections that day – even though Scott hasn’t been declared the winner yet and there’s still a recount in Florida underway
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 12, 2018
McConnell is notorious for bending the rules to benefit political outcomes favoring Republican outcomes, such as refusing to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland to steal the seat.
Putting on an act for Scott would fit right in with how he runs the Senate.
Despite the performance Scott and McConnell are putting on, not all of the votes have been counted yet, in accordance with the law, and Scott has not been declared the winner.
Pretending to be Florida’s “senator-elect” is a transparent public relations ploy to swing post-election opinion in his favor. But Scott does not have the final say on the race’s outcome.
The voters do.