Whatever the result in the battle for Florida’s 29 electoral votes, it will make a difference only in the margin between President Barack Obama, who won re-election through victories in other states, and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
As of around 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, Obama was clinging to a razor-thin lead of 49.97 percent to 49.17, with the rest of the vote being split among third-party candidates. Fewer than 65,000 votes — out of more than 8.1 million ballots cast — separated Obama from Romney.
Miami-Dade County elections officials said they would not have final totals until later Wednesday, according to the Miami Herald, with the last voters finishing up around 1 a.m. ET. With 770 of 829 Miami precincts reporting, Obama was carrying 62 percent of the county’s vote to nearly 37.5 percent for Romney.
But Obama was projected to win more than the required 270 electoral votes, with many counts putting him above 300. Swing states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada made it clear Obama would win, regardless of what happened in Florida.
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said Obama would win the state — but that sentiment, tucked inside a much larger statement on the larger contours of the night, seemed to have little urgency.
“We fully expect when all the votes are in that Florida will have, once again, delivered the state for President Obama,” Smith said.
It would round out a relatively successful night for Democrats, who had already watched as Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won re-election and the party chipped away at large GOP majorities in the state’s congressional delegations and both chambers of the Legislature.
A win would be purely symbolic for Republicans, and cold comfort after Romney’s loss. There were no statements issued by the Republican Party of Florida about the presidential race.