Mitt Romney’s campaign conceded defeat in Florida on Thursday, more than 36 hours after the presidential election was called for President Barack Obama.
Votes are still being tallied, but President Obama is all but assured of the state’s 29 electoral votes because the lion’s share of the outstanding ballots come from Democratic-heavy counties.
Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 55,832 votes – or 49.9 percent to 49.24 – but there just aren’t enough votes from Republican areas to allow the challenger to catch up.
“The numbers in Florida show this was winnable,” Brett Doster, Romney’s senior adviser in Florida, told the Miami Herald in a statement.
“We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won’t happen again.”
As of Thursday, the president was still holding a narrow lead over Romney with 100 percent of precincts reporting. But the state had yet to fully count a total of 200,000 absentee and provisional ballots, which was larger than the president’s lead of 55,825 votes. Most studies show that provisional ballots tend to be cast by Democrats.
Absentee ballots were still being tallied in Broward, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Putnam counties.
During a conference call on Thursday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters he was confident the president would be named the official winner in Florida, pointing to a boost from Latino and youth voters and having won the messaging war on Medicare.
With a win in Florida, Obama finishes the election with 332 electoral votes, just 33 fewer than he won in his victory in 2008. He won every battleground state except North Carolina.
Romney, who totaled 206 electoral votes, graciously conceded his election defeat to Obama late Tuesday night.