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Politics / Issues

Crist Loses, Says There's 'Common Ground' on Medicaid Expansion

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 Democratic challenger Charlie Crist has conceded the Florida election to incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

In St. Petersburg, Crist had little to say when he conceded the race just after 11 p.m. He thanked supporters and brought up just one specific issue debated during the caustic campaign: Medicaid expansion.

“I know that we had a lot of differences in this race. That was pretty clear. But the one thing we talked about that there was some common ground, was to expand Medicaid for about a million of our fellow Floridians,” Crist said.

During the campaign, Crist had advocated calling a special session to reconsider expansion of the state’s health program for the poor, and the acceptance of nearly $51 billion in federal funds. Scott, a former health care executive who got into politics to oppose the Affordable Care Act, has said he supports expansion. However, he has not lobbied reluctant state legislators to reconsider their position.

“So I hope that that can happen,” he said. “And I talked to Gov. Scott about that.”

He told the governor that though they'd had differences, they also had common ground on the issue of Medicaid expansion.

Until shortly before the call, some TV stations citing unnamed sources had said that Crist would refuse to concede.

With nearly all the votes counted, Scott held a lead of nearly 49 percent to 47 percent for Crist.

--WUSF reporter Mary Shedden contributed to this story.