Gore seeks immediate recount

Associated Press

Al Gore’s lawyers battled for his political survival in the Florida and U.S. supreme courts Thursday, pleading against delaying fresh vote recounts “even one day” as a half-million ballots sped by rental truck to Tallahassee. GOP lawmakers jockeyed in the state capital to award the presidency to George W. Bush in case the judges wouldn’t.

“When the counting stops, we want to be prepared to lead this nation,” Bush said in Texas between transition meetings with retired Gen. Colin Powell, the star of his Cabinet-in-the-making. Officials said the meeting cemented Powell’s position as secretary of state in a presumptive Bush administration.

In Florida, the GOP-dominated state Legislature drew a step closer to appointing its own slate of presidential electors as a committee urged leaders to call a special session. Democrats called that “a brazen power play,” while they worked elsewhere to keep Gore in the game.

Bush, whose brother is governor of the state, raised no objection to the Legislature’s actions, and his lawyers defended the lawmakers’ right to name a GOP slate. “It’s time to get some finality,” Bush said in an appearance with Powell at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.

Hundreds of miles away in Florida, Lt. Jim Kersey’s squad car headed up the ballot brigade as it passed a handmade sign reading “No chad zone.”

“Oh, my God,” he said. “The whole world is watching.”

And what sights to see: Lawmakers cussed and fumed in a legislative committee room; the two could-be presidents plotted their transitions to power; legal briefs ricocheted between the nation’s courts; and the banana-yellow rental truck, swarmed by police and media vehicles on Ronald Reagan Turnpike, carried contested ballots to Circuit Judge Sanders Sauls’ court.

The recount convoy was captured by TV cameras in helicopters, giving Americans a bird’s-eye view all the way from Palm Beach to Tallahassee.

Sauls could need the ballots if he sides with Gore after a hearing Saturday on the merits of recounts in three counties. The vice president is trying to overturn the official results of Florida’s election, which give Bush a 537-vote lead and the 25 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.

Gore’s advisers believe he needs a court victory and a speedy reduction of Bush’s lead to keep public patience with a 23-day standoff that the vice president said could linger until the Electoral College meets Dec. 18.

His lawyers filed an urgent plea with the Florida Supreme Court asking the seven justices, all with Democratic ties, to start hand-counting ballots while Sauls decides whether the recounts could be added to Gore’s totals. “There is no reason to delay counting ballots even one day,” the brief read.

Summing up Gore’s urgency, both legally and politically, his lawyers told the court, “We’re getting close to the end.”

A new potential for delay emerged late Thursday when Republicans asked Sauls to order an additional 1.2 million ballots brought to Tallahassee from Volusia, Broward and Pinellas counties. The judge has not yet considered the request.

“We believe there were a number of illegal votes for Gore in those counties,” said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan.

The vice president’s allies were just as emphatic about a Florida legislative committee’s recommendation that a special session be called to choose a slate of electors, presumably Bush supporters.

“What the hell is going on here?” Senate Democratic leader Tom Rossin asked in frustration.

Bush’s brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said lawmakers may need to intercede if the results are still uncertain Dec. 12, the day states must choose their electors. “Clearly, the U.S. Constitution delegates the authority of the selection of the electors to the Legislature,” he said. “That is as clear as can be.”

Not so, said Gore’s lawyers.

They filed papers with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Legislature would be on shaky ground if it appointed its own slate. Both sides were submitting briefs in advance of toFday’s Supreme Court oral arguments in Washington.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County Jail review finds no fault in Florida inmate’s death

David Koeppen, 38, was the third inmate in two months to die in the jail. He was being held on murder charges.

Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, left, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, looks on at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. After the speech, Inslee signed a bill sponsored by McCoy that seeks to improve oral health on Indian reservations in Washington state. The measure is the first bill the governor has signed this legislative session and it allows tribes to use federal funding for dental therapists. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Curriculum on state tribes to be renamed after late Tulalip legislator

On Tuesday, John McCoy’s former colleagues in the Senate honored the late lawmaker by passing House Bill 1879.

Man stabbed, killed inside Lynnwood-area condo

Detectives were looking to identify suspects in a killing Monday night at the Brio Condominiums.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.