MIAMI – Gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride said Monday he was close to picking a running mate, while Janet Reno's chances of overtaking him for the Democratic nomination dwindled with one day left to find enough votes.
McBride said he has more than a dozen people on a list for lieutenant governor. He declined to give names, but said, "I've almost made my mind up."
He said he would not announce his choice until at least Wednesday, the day the state will officially certify the Democratic nominee to take on Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.
"I don't count chickens before they hatch," McBride said. "That's not my style."
The Reno campaign said there was little chance the dispute over last week's election results would go past Tuesday.
"There has to be at some point finality. The Democrats have to know who their nominee is," said campaign lawyer Alan Greer, adding that Reno will not challenge the certified results in court if she loses.
McBride's lead over Reno dropped from 8,196 to 5,685 votes, according to numbers released Sunday by both campaigns. Campaign officials said the former attorney general picked up 2,511 votes in Miami-Dade County after ballots cast in 88 precincts were rechecked.
But with fewer than 600 votes expected to be found in Broward County, the only place where a significant number of new ballots might be located, it appeared unlikely that Reno could overtake McBride.
McBride said he did not feel as if he lost time campaigning because of the dispute.
"I feel confident that we're in good shape," he said.
McBride supporters said his potential lieutenant governor candidates include Betty Castor, former president of the University of South Florida; Carol Browner, former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency; state Sen. Daryl Jones, who ran third in the race for the nomination for the governor; and Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas.
McBride spent about an hour at the Prayer Tower Christian Academy, playing with the children and bouncing two at a time on his knees. As he was leaving, all the children yelled, "Bye, Mr. Governor!"
Reno's campaign, meanwhile, was building a case against Bush and the election reform law he signed last year, alleging the new touchscreen voting machines caused lost votes.
The case would not be used to challenge the results of the primary, Reno campaign manager Mo Elleithee said. Instead, the challenge would be used against Bush for failing to reform the state's election system properly.
Bush campaign spokesman Todd Harris said the problems were caused by election officials in Broward and Miami-Dade.