Published: Nov 03, 2010 8:13 AM EDT
Updated: Nov 03, 2010 5:13 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Republican Rick Scott is clinging to  a razor-thin lead over Democrat Alex Sink, saying he was "absolutely confident" he'd prevail.

Sink vowed not to give up until "all the people of Florida have their voices heard."

With 99 percent of the expected vote from Tuesday's election counted, Scott had 49 percent while Sink had 48 percent.

"I am absolutely confident I will be the next great governor of the State of Florida," Scott told a crowd of hundreds of giddy but exhausted voters in Fort Lauderdale just after 2 am. "We look forward to finishing the count. We know we're going to win."

Still, the race remained too close to call, with just tens of thousands of votes separating the candidates out of more than 5 million cast. Sink's party ended with the Democrat telling supporters "We are coming down to the wire in what looks to be a dead-even race."

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 winner will replace Charlie Crist on January  4. He ran for the U.S. Senate instead of seeking a second term. Crist lost the race to Marco Rubio Tuesday.