Gov. Rick Scott, calling the allegations sensational, demanded on Friday that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson provide proof to back up his statement that Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state’s election systems ahead of this year’s crucial election.

Scott, a Republican, is running against Nelson, a Democrat, in November’s midterm elections. During a campaign stop in Tampa, Scott said Nelson must provide “evidence for his claims.”

“This cannot be swept under the rug,” said Scott. “Bill Nelson must come clean and provide a thorough explanation. Elections are not something to try to scare people about.”

Nelson late Friday did not comply with Scott’s request and instead said he was trying to make sure officials in his home state are “aware of the ongoing Russian threat so they take the steps necessary to safeguard our elections. It’s unfortunate that some Florida officials would try to use this issue for personal, political gain.”

Nelson earlier in the week said that Russians were able to get inside the election systems of “certain counties” and “now have free rein to move about.” He added that “the threat is real and elections officials — at all levels — need

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