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Trump: Gillum will be 'force to reckon with'

The Hill logo The Hill 11/17/2018 Morgan Gstalter

a man wearing a suit and tie: Andrew Gillum continues to trail Ron DeSantis in the race for governor. © Getty Images Andrew Gillum continues to trail Ron DeSantis in the race for governor. President Trump praised Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on Saturday, saying the Florida Democrat will be a "force to reckon with" long after the state's gubernatorial race.

"Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida," Trump tweeted. "He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future - a force to reckon with!"

Gillum has not conceded in the race for Florida governor despite Republican Ron DeSantis holding a narrow lead over him on Thursday.

The results of a machine recount showed DeSantis maintaining a lead over Gillum of about 0.41 points — larger than the threshold required for a hand recount.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R) did not order a manual recount in the race, though Gillum insisted "tens of thousands of votes" remained to be counted.

"As today's unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted," Gillum said this week. "We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process."

Trump's praise of Gillum is a reversal from his previous criticism of the Florida Democrat, who he called a "thief" last month.

The president's tweet about the Tallahassee mayor followed similar comments he made about Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ended her campaign for Georgia governor on Friday.

"Stacey Abrams fought brilliantly and hard she will have a terrific political future!" Trump tweeted Friday night, while lauding her GOP opponent, Gov-elect Brian Kemp, for being "unrelenting" in the race.

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