The contentious battle between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott to become the next governor of Floria remained too close to call early Wednesday morning as both candidates held out hope they'd emerge as the winner.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Scott narrowly leads Sink with a 49 percent to 48 percent margin.
Scott had been waiting out the results at the Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale with family, friends and supporters, and finally addressed the weary crowd around 2 a.m.
"I am absolutely confident I will be the next great governor of the State of Florida," Scott said. "We look forward to finishing the count. We know we're gonna win, we have won and we look forward to getting this state back to work."
Meanwhile Sink, who has been waiting out the results in Tampa, said it's not over 'til it's over.
"There are still hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted," Sink told supporters. "So we're gonna let the people of Florida, all the people of Florida, have their voices heard."
Scott and Sink had been locked in a dead heat heading into Election Day, with polls showing Sink maintaining the slimmest of leads over Scott. Both candidates voted in their hometowns Tuesday, Scott in Naples and Sink in Thonotosassa, near Tampa.
But early Wednesday, the two were separated by about 50,000 votes with over 5 million cast.
Sink was pinning her hopes on still-uncounted votes in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties. It remained unclear how many ballots were outstanding. To trigger an automatic machine recount, Sink would need to cut Scott's lead to 0.5 percent or less.
The 57-year-old Scott ran as the jobs candidate, promising to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. Other promises include slashing the state budget, drug testing for welfare recipients and smaller government.
A millionaire former hospital CEO, Scott dropped a whopping $73 million of his own cash on his campaign which began in April. With an anti-establishment message and tea party backing, Scott beat Attorney General Bill McCollum for the GOP nomination in the August primary.
A political newcomer, Scott was able to paint Sink as a "Tallahassee insider" who voted along with President Barack Obama.
Sink, 62, worked for 26 years in the banking business, eventually becoming one of the state's most prominent businesswomen. She was elected Florida's CFO in 2006.
The winner will replace Charlie Crist on Jan. 4.