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As tallying goes on, top Florida Democrat cheers Obama's win

MIAMI (Reuters) - The chairman of Florida's Democratic Party congratulated President Barack Obama on Thursday on winning the battleground state on Tuesday, while blasting the state's Republican governor for his handling of the election.

"On behalf of Florida Democrats, I wish President Barack Obama congratulations on his re-election and on winning Florida's 29 electoral votes," said Rod Smith in a statement posted on the party's website.

Vote counting in Florida continued on Thursday, with Obama holding a narrow 58,000 vote lead that Republican challenger Mitt Romney appeared unlikely to overturn.

If Obama's victory is confirmed, the Florida result would give the president 332 electoral college votes and 206 for Romney.

The Republican Party in Florida has yet to officially concede the race, though one party strategist was quoted by The Miami Herald accepting defeat.

Said Smith: "It is appalling that two days after the election, Florida was not able to report our presidential election results."

"This embarrassment lays at the feet of Governor Rick Scott, who made a decision to cut early voting in half and continually refused to extend early-voting hours," he added, issuing a call to Scott and the state Legislature "to reform Florida's voting systems ... to ensure that we correct this affront to our system of democratic participation."

(Writing by David Adams; editing by Philip Barbara)

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