MIAMI – Janet Reno's chances of finding the votes she needs to overtake Bill McBride in Florida's Democratic gubernatorial primary are becoming slimmer as officials complete their review of the prolonged election.
McBride's lead over Reno has dwindled from 8,196 to 5,685 votes, according to numbers released Sunday by both campaigns.
Reno and McBride campaign officials said Sunday they learned that the former U.S. attorney general has picked up a net increase of 2,511 votes in Miami-Dade County based on the rechecking of ballots cast in 88 precincts that experienced technical problems.
But with fewer votes expected from Broward County -- the only place expected to turn up a significant number of new votes -- it appears that it would be difficult for Reno to overtake McBride when certified results are turned in Tuesday.
The Tampa lawyer's original lead was a larger margin than the half-a-percentage point that was necessary to trigger a statewide recount by law.
Even if the new vote totals were to bring Reno within that margin, there is no provision to trigger a recount after unofficial totals are tallied.
McBride's team said the contest to challenge Gov. Jeb Bush is all but over.
"We're confident that at the end of Tuesday, McBride will have more votes and we'll be certified. We don't have any indication that there's anything left out there that's in dispute," McBride spokesman Alan Stonecipher said Sunday night.
Reno campaign officials said there was little chance the dispute would go past Tuesday.
"There has to be at some point finality. The Democrats have to know who their nominee is," said Reno general counsel Alan Greer, adding that Reno would not challenge the results in court if she trailed McBride in the certified results.