Democratic US senator eyes recount in battleground Fla. race

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, seeking to hold onto his seat in Florida, vowed on Wednesday to pursue a recount in his race against his Republican challenger and close Trump ally Rick Scott.

Unofficial results showed Nelson trailing Scott by less than one-half of a percentage point. A statement from Nelson said state law required a recount when candidates were within such a margin.

"The deadline is noon Saturday, or perhaps longer under certain circumstances, to determine whether the recount proceeds under law," the statement said, adding that further steps were needed to recheck vote tallies before proceeding.

A representative for Scott, Florida's outgoing governor, dismissed the idea that the race was too close to call.

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DORAL, FL - MARCH 28: Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people at Restaurant El Arepazo 2 as he holds a bill signing ceremony for legislation to prohibit all state agencies from doing business with any entity that benefits the Venezuelan regime on March 28, 2018 in Doral, Florida. Gov. Scott said recently that he will have a big announcement on April 9, with many speculating that he will launch a Senate bid to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for the seat. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PARKLAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media as he visits Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school killed 17 people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DORAL, FL - MARCH 28: Florida Governor Rick Scott arrives at Restaurant El Arepazo 2 to hold a bill signing ceremony for legislation to prohibit all state agencies from doing business with any entity that benefits the Venezuelan regime on March 28, 2018 in Doral, Florida. Gov. Scott said recently that he will have a big announcement on April 9, with many speculating that he will launch a Senate bid to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for the seat. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks with the media before the Republican presidential debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The Republican candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Florida's Governor Rick Scott addresses the media as CNN prepares for the Republican Presidential Debate March 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
TELEMUNDO EVENTS -- Pictured: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises' Global Headquarters on February 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida -- (Photo by: Ivan Apfel/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TELEMUNDO EVENTS -- Pictured: (l-r) David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and Florida Governor Rick Scott arrive at the groundbreaking ceremony for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises' Global Headquarters on February 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida -- (Photo by: Ivan Apfel/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JULY 13: Florida Governor Rick Scott stands with Crystal Faircloth as he visits the Marian Center which offers services for people with intellectual disabilities on July 13, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Governor held a bill signing ceremony at the center for Senate Bill 642, the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act as well as took the opportunity to highlight funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities included in the 2015-2016 state Budget. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JULY 13: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks with Sisters, Sister Filomena Mastrangelo (L) Sister Fausta Rondena (C) and Sister Carla Valentini (R) as he visits the Marian Center which offers services for people with intellectual disabilities on July 13, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Governor held a bill signing ceremony at the center for Senate Bill 642, the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act as well as took the opportunity to highlight funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities included in the 2015-2016 state Budget. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JULY 13: Florida Governor Rick Scott as he visits the Marian Center which offers services for people with intellectual disabilities on July 13, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Governor held a bill signing ceremony at the center for Senate Bill 642, the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act as well as took the opportunity to highlight funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities included in the 2015-2016 state Budget. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 07: Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) arrives for a news conference and greeted by Aerospace CEO Pierre Pinsonnautt (L) and Abhishek Wakaskar (C) at Aerospace Precision. Governor Rick Scott take a tour of the facility to highlight job growth in Hollywood on Tuesday July 7, 2015 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 06: Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell May 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Governor Scott met with Secretary Burwell to discuss his funding request for a Low Income Pool program which will be expire June 30. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
MIRAMAR, FL - JANUARY 23: Florida Governor Rick Scott tours the SeaLand shipping lines new Intra-Americas headquarters on January 23, 2015 in Miramar, Florida. Scott announced that Florida businesses added 11,500 private-sector jobs in December 2014 and since December 2010, Florida has added 728,500 private-sector jobs. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott (C), flanked by family members, greets supporters after his re-election victory in a deadlocked race against Democrat Charlie Crist, during an U.S. midterm elections night party in Bonita Springs, Florida, November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott celebrates his re-election in a deadlocked race against Democrat Charlie Crist during a U.S. midterm elections night party with supporters in Bonita Springs, Florida, November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a ceremony opening new newsroom facilities for the Univision and Fusion television networks in Doral, Florida August 28, 2013. Spanish language behemoth Univision is ramping up its new English cable news network Fusion aimed at younger viewers, hiring hundreds of staffers and building a flashy newsroom as it prepares to enter the crowded field of cable news channels. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEADSHOT MEDIA BUSINESS POLITICS)
Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks at a meeting of the Latin Builders Association in Miami, Florida January 27, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
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"This race is over," Scott spokesman Chris Hartline said in a statement. "It's a sad way for Bill Nelson to end his career. He is desperately trying to hold on to something that no longer exists."

Fox News had projected that Scott would win. But on Wednesday morning, Nelson said Scott had "prematurely claimed victory" after the Fox projection.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Letitia Stein Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)

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