MIAMI—Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott will recuse himself from certifying the results of the state’s U.S. Senate election, his lawyers told a judge on Wednesday.
Scott, who has declared victory in the contest over Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), will not participate in the state’s Elections Canvassing Commission, the group that is charged with certifying the results of each election within Florida. The Senate race is in the midst of a state-mandated machine recount, and is expected to proceed to a manual recount by the end of the week.
Scott’s recusal comes after the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, an elections watchdog group, filed a lawsuit aiming to bar Scott from participating in or overseeing the recount given his personal stake in the outcome.
Nelson, who has not conceded the race, demanded this week that Scott “remove himself from any role in the recount process so the people can have confidence in the integrity of the election.”
“This is nothing new,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “Bill Nelson is confused and doesn’t even know how Florida works- I have no role in supervising/ overseeing the ongoing recount process.”
President Donald Trump looms large over the race, and has called on Florida officials to shut down the recount and declare Scott the winner.
Nelson’s campaign filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to extend the recount deadlines, as the campaign’s top lawyer, veteran Democratic elections attorney Marc Elias, launches multiple offensives against Florida state laws that Democrats say benefit Republicans.
The governor previously recused himself from certifying the results of his 2014 re-election bid.
Scott was in Washington on Wednesday for a new-member orientation and Senate Republican leadership elections.
In addition to the Senate race, the gubernatorial and agriculture commissioner contests also qualified for a recount. Florida law mandates a machine recount when the margin separating two candidates is less than 0.5 percent, and a manual recount when that margin is less than 0.25 percent.
Some counties are at risk of missing the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline for the machine recount. In Palm Beach County, voting machines overheated, forcing election workers to start over. The county’s elections supervisor, Susan Bucher, has said the county would not be able to meet the deadline.