Nikki Fried pulls ahead in 'too close to call' Florida agriculture commissioners race

Two days after the 2018 elections in Florida, it’s looking more likely that several state and local races are headed to recounts, including one for the commissioner of agriculture.

On election night, Republican Matt Caldwell led Democrat Nikki Fried by about 12,000 votes, about 0.16 percentage point, however, as provisional, absentee, military and overseas ballots continue to come in that margin is narrowing.

“This is the closest race since we’ve seen here in Florida since Bush v. Gore in 2000 — we’re heading into a recount,” Fried said Wednesday.

The tide turned Thursday and Caldwell was down by more than 500 votes and Fried had pulled ahead, according to the Florida Division of Elections’ unofficial election night results.

The difference is close to approaching what triggered the 36-day 2000 Bush-Gore recount, which was 1,784 votes.

The threshold for a machine recount is 0.5 points; a hand recount requires a difference of 0.25 percentage points.

“The race is too close to call,” Fried’s communication director Max Flugrath said.

Florida Democratic Party officials are watching the ongoing vote-counting processes closely.

Fried, if elected, would be the only Democratic cabinet member in Florida and the first woman elected as agriculture commissioner in the U.S. Her campaign put out a call Wednesday for “emergency recount” donations and her campaign.

“Democrats will take every step to ensure that every single ballot is counted and we will be pursuing a recount in Nikki Fried’s election for the commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs,” FDP Executive  Director Juan Penalosa said the morning after Election Day.

No official recount has been ordered by Florida’s secretary of state.

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