Bush wins; Gore vows fight

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 27, 2000

The Associated Press

George W.

Monday, November 27, 2000

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George W. Bush is designing a transition to the White House, describing himself as ”honored and humbled” after being certified the winner in Florida’s razor-thin presidential election. Al Gore says he’ll fight on.

”If the vice president chooses to go forward, he is filing a contest to the outcome of the election,” the Republican governor of Texas said Sunday night. ”And that is not the best route for America.”

Not surprisingly, that is not how the Democrats saw it, even after Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush partisan, had certified the GOP ticket the winners.

”Vice President Gore and I have no choice but to contest these actions,” said running mate Joseph Lieberman, reflecting Democratic objections over the conduct of manual recounts in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

”The integrity of our self-government is too important to cast into doubt because votes that have been counted or others that have not yet been counted and clearly should been, have unjustifiably been cast aside,” Lieberman said.

Gore’s aides said lawyers would file papers today in Tallahassee, the Florida capital, objecting formally to the certification, a step known as a ”contest” under state law. Republicans said Bush aides will aggressively fight Gore’s contests, but won’t file any of their own outside the counties targeted by the vice president: Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau.

To lend support to Gore’s continuing challenge, the top Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Tom Daschle and Rep. Dick Gephardt, arranged to fly to Florida to speak on the vice president’s behalf.

Bush and Lieberman spoke shortly after Harris awarded the GOP ticket of Bush and Dick Cheney the 25 electoral votes they needed for victory in the race for the White House.

”On behalf of the state elections canvassing commission, and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes,” said Harris. The margin was 537 votes out of roughly 6 million cast.

The remarks touched off a wave of noisy cheering from Bush supporters gathered outside the state government building where Harris and other members of the state canvassing board signed multiple copies of the official certification.

And within minutes, the two campaigns had plunged into a fresh round of maneuvering, as Democrats sought to build public support for continuing the struggle, and Republicans bid to close out the race.