TALLAHASSEE - He had barely gotten off the stage after giving his victory speech at an Orlando hotel on Election Night when Ron DeSantis was asked about his schedule for the days ahead.
“When I stepped down from Congress, part of it was I knew I wasn’t going to be making the votes while I was campaigning,” he told reporters Tuesday. “But even more significant was thinking after the election, you have to put together a government ... we’ve been doing this quietly behind the scenes — not to be presumptuous, but just because you don’t have enough time [after the election].”
Things have changed a bit since then.
DeSantis’ margin of victory shrank in the days after Election Day to fall within the 0.5 percentage point gap that triggers a recount by tabulation machines (making the governor’s race the third statewide race to fall into a recount, along with U.S. Senate and commissioner of agriculture).
Yet while the chaos and finger-pointing of three simultaneous recounts engulfs Florida in all-too-familiar national spotlight, Ron DeSantis and his transition team are steadily establishing a new government.
That puts DeSantis in an uncertain, first-ever position for the state of Florida: a presumed governor-elect who must continue to push ahead while the results of his election are still being debated and recounted.
He is, at least, in the best position of the two other statewide Republicans facing a recount. As of Sunday, 0.41 percent separated him and his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum. That’s about 33,600 votes — which means a change in outcome is doubtful.
“We’ll let the lawyers do what they got to do but we’re good,” DeSantis told reporters at a Thursday event in Hialeah.
On Saturday, it wasn’t clear if Gillum would accept the outcome of a machine recount that must conclude by 3 p.m. Thursday.
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