The re-election campaign of incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is “seeking to throw out Florida’s anti-fraud laws” because Democrats want to lay the groundwork for defeating President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, GOP operative Rick Todd warned Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“I think that Bill Nelson and the Democrats are suing to throw out Florida’s election law because they think they need to get rid of the election laws to defeat President Trump in 2020. I think this is all about 2020,” said Todd, a senior adviser to the Senate campaign of outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).
Broward County and Palm Beach County became embroiled in controversy in the days following last Tuesday’s midterm elections: GOP candidates’ comfortable election evening leads over their candidates in the other party sank enough over the next several days as enough Democrat-leaning ballots kept pouring in to trigger recounts.
Scott and Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis (R) still hold slim margins of victory over Nelson and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), respectively.
Scott filed two lawsuits against the two Democrat-majority counties as they continued to count an unknown number of ballots past the state-mandated deadlines.
Nelson (shown above left) filed a lawsuit Monday asking that mail-in ballots received after the legal deadline on Election Day still be counted.
Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter in Florida asked Monday that both sides “ramp down the rhetoric.”
“New Day” co-anchor John Berman focused on this plea during his interview with Todd, asking him “what change” can be expected from Scott’s campaign, in particular.
“Gov. Scott’s position has been clear throughout this process. He wants the laws of Florida to be followed, and he wants to shine a light on the noncompliance with Florida’s anti-fraud laws. You know, John, fraud hides in the shadows of noncompliance,” Todd also said.
Berman took issue with Todd’s repeated use of the word “fraud,” insisting the judge made clear there had been no evidence of election fraud being committed.
“Well, hold on just a second. Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections in Broward County, has admitted that she co-mingled invalid ballots with valid ballots and counted them anyway. And now lawyers for Bill Nelson … are currently in court trying to commit fraud in open public. They are trying to invalidate laws that have kept out invalid votes,” Todd said.
Todd also accused Berman of “mischaracterizing the Nelson campaign’s position,” which he claimed was “that Florida election law should be tossed out the window.”
“Nelson’s campaign’s position is we should ignore Florida’s election laws,” Todd reiterated. “That’s their stated position in court in multiple lawsuits. Rick Scott’s position is we should follow election laws.”
The real question is whether Nelson will “accept” the outcome if the recount reaffirms Scott’s narrow lead over him, Todd said.
“The question is does [Nelson] want to have that long of a lifetime of service to Florida to be unwritten and for his only legacy to be the guy who was a sore loser and wouldn’t go away?” Todd asked. “The only way the Democrats could possibly see anyone besides Rick Scott [as senator] would be an insurmountable theft in the courts.”
“Bill Nelson is not going to overcome this deficit. So why are the Democrats so furiously suing over every possible plank in the Florida elections code?” Todd added.
“The laws should be followed. The ballots that were legally cast and timely received should be counted. And that’s it.”
When Berman accused him of being “political” in his assessment, Todd pushed back. “I’m not being political. I’m being legalistic,” he said. “The laws should be followed. Brenda Snipes has not followed the law in Florida.”
“The laws should be followed. The ballots that were legally cast and timely received should be counted. And that’s it,” Todd said.
“We will continue to cooperate according to the laws of Florida … The only campaign that trying to throw out the laws of Florida and not follow the laws of Florida is the Nelson campaign.”