A Florida Republican who last Tuesday lost a congressional special election by a landslide margin in a heavily Democratic district has declined to concede the race, according to CBS Miami.
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick — a progressive Democrat who pledged to fight for $1,000 monthly checks for Americans and backs policies including the Green New Deal and Medicare for All — easily defeated Republican Jason Mariner in a race to succeed the late Congressman Alcee Hastings, who passed away in April 2021.
With all precincts reporting, Cherfilus-McCormick defeated Mariner by a 78.7% to 19.6% margin in Florida’s 20th
District — representing a 59.1 percentage-point victory. The congresswoman received 43,663 votes to her opponent’s 10,883 votes in a clear victory.
However, in a move reminiscent of former President Donald Trump, who continues to dispute his election loss to President Joe Biden, Mariner has pointed to irregularities in the South Florida district.
“Now they called the race — I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either, it does not mean that we lost,” the Republican told CBS after the race was called for Cherfilus-McCormick.
Before the polls closed for the special election, Mariner filed a lawsuit pointing to ballot issues in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the two populous Democratic-leaning jurisdictions that anchor the district.
“We’ll also have some stuff coming out that we’ve recently discovered,” Mariner told the television station, without disclosing any developments that could affect the outcome.
Cherfilus-McCormick — who eked by former Democratic primary contender Dale Holness by five votes in a multicandidate Democratic primary in November — brushed off Mariner’s move.
“Well, this wouldn’t be my first time running against an opponent who is refusing to concede, so it’s not our first time, and at the end of the day nothing can stop the motion,” she told CBS.
Holness, a former Broward County Commissioner, filed a lawsuit in November to invalidate the Democratic primary results, alleging that Cherfilus-McCormick’s advocacy for a universal basic income plan was tantamount to bribing voters.
Election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties told CBS that the election results would be certified in 14 days — with challenges permitted for 10 days after that point.
While candidates who are unsuccessful in their races aren’t legally bound to formally concede, Trump’s continued refusal to acknowledge his loss to Biden despite a clear 306-232 Electoral College victory for the president has morphed into a major point of contention for partisans, from the grassroots level to the halls of Congress.
In the wake of Trump’s 2020 presidential loss, Republicans across the country have raced to implement voting restrictions, fueled by the former president’s debunked claims of voter fraud.
Congressional Democrats have sought to nullify many of the provisions of Republican-led bills with the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — but have been stymied by resistance to filibuster reform from Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, along with near-unanimous GOP opposition to the bills.