Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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News at noon: Florida Senate race could be headed to a recount as Rick Scott's lead narrows; recount for agriculture commissioner race? and more

Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

FLORIDA SENATE RACE COULD BE HEADED TO A RECOUNT AS SCOTT'S LEAD NARROWS

Did Republican Rick Scott speak too soon when he declared victory in his U.S. Senate race last night? Maybe. Just 34,435 votes separated Gov. Scott and Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson this morning, a difference of 0.42 percentage points. That's within the margin that could launch a recount. Nelson declared Wednesday morning that is exactly what he is expecting.Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline said, "The race is over," but he acknowledged a recount will likely go forward based on the narrow margin between the candidates — unless Nelson declines to proceed.

A RECOUNT FOR THE AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER RACE?

The super-tight race for Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services could have a recount in its future. Rep. Matt Caldwell, the Republican challenger, leads Fort Lauderdale attorney and lobbyist Nicole "Nikki" Fried by about 0.16 percentage points as of this morning. The threshold for a manual recount is 0.25 points. The actual raw numbers this morning — with a trickle of absentee, military and overseas ballots possibly still to be tallied — put Caldwell ahead of Fried by just 12,521 votes, with just under 8 million votes cast. "This is the closest race since we've seen here in Florida since Bush v. Gore in 2000—we're heading into a recount," Fried said in a statement.

JANET CRUZ DECLARES VICTORY IN FLORIDA SENATE RACE, DESPITE THIN MARGIN

Just 289 votes separate Janet Cruz and Dana Young in the race for Florida Senate District 18 and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections will likely declare a recount. But on Wednesday morning, Cruz told the Tampa Bay Times she isn't waiting to declare victory. "Sure it will go to a recount," Cruz said. "I believe in our system and in our system of recounts. I am feeling quite comfortable the number will be the same. It is time to declare victory." Young, the Republican incumbent, was not immediately available for comment.

THREE TAMPA MEN INDICTED FOR ALLEGED IRS, PAYDAY LOAN SCHEME

Three Tampa men have been indicted in an alleged scheme to defraud Americans by posing as loan agents and representatives of the Internal Revenue Service. In a federal indictment entered Oct. 24, Hemalkumar Shah, Nishitkumar Patel and Sharvil Patel were accused of operating a call center in India that extorted money from its victims. Under the scam outlined by the government: callers phoned Americans and pretended to be either the Internal Revenue Service calling about back taxes or a payday loan officer offering fake payday loans for a small "worthiness fee" to ensure the customer could afford to pay the loan.

WARREN SAPP'S FILM BREAKDOWN DRAWS IRE OF BUCS LINEBACKERS

Former Bucs great Warren Sapp regularly breaks down film on his Instagram feed, and this week's dissection of the Bucs' 42-28 loss to the Panthers apparently didn't sit well with Tampa Bay linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. Sapp broke down Christian McCaffrey's 35-yard run with 9:01 left in the second quarter, in which McCaffrey turns the corner down the right sideline against an eight-man front for a big gain. Sapp makes the point that David should have filled the outside gap, which would have pushed McCaffrey inside, where safety Jordan Whitehead could have filled and made the tackle. That's not the way David saw it.

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