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Rick Scott Wins ‘Nasty’ U.S. Senate Race, Ending Bill Nelson’s 46 Years in Government

| November 7, 2018

rick scott senator

Rick Scott. (© FlaglerLive)

Eight years after shocking the political establishment by becoming Florida governor, Republican Rick Scott declared victory late Tuesday night in his campaign against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.


As of Wednesday morning, Scott led by about 34,000 votes out of 8.1 million cast, or a margin of 50.21 percent to 49.79 percent.

Nelson did not make a public statement, but Scott’s win even more firmly cemented control of Florida for Republicans. Nelson for the past eight years has been the only Democrat elected statewide.

Shortly before midnight, Scott, flanked by his family, addressed supporters in Naples.

He acknowledged the combative nature of the race, in which Scott and his supporters repeatedly characterized Nelson, 76, as verging on senility.

Campaigns are “divisive” and “tough,” Scott said.

“And they’re really actually way too nasty,” he said. “But you know what? We’ve done this for over 200 years, and after these campaigns, we come together.”

The governor vowed to bring to Washington the same business-like approach he used as an outsider when he assumed office eight years ago as governor. Scott, a wealthy businessman who had not previously held political office, was elected governor in 2010 by beating Republican establishment candidate Bill McCollum and Democrat Alex Sink.

“The federal government is frustrating. It’s outdated. It’s wasteful. It’s inefficient,” Scott said. “All of us in state government have dealt with the federal government over the last eight years, and we can tell you story after story after story. Now, I’m just one individual, but there are a lot of other individuals in D.C. that want to do the same thing. And I’m going to work with them and we will change, like we did in Florida, the direction of Washington, D.C.”

Scott choked up after saying there were “a couple people looking down from heaven I want to recognize.”

“I had the most wonderful mom,” said Scott, who frequently speaks about growing up poor. “She never would believe that I’d be a governor or a U.S. senator.”

Scott also thanked Jeri Bustamante, a former aide who died in a boating accident this year and who was his Spanish coach.

“Everybody in our office and everybody on this campaign team, she was their best friend,” he said.

The race drew national attention and money as part of a broader battle for seats in the U.S. Senate.

Through mid-October, Scott had raised about $69 million for his Senate campaign, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Nelson, who was seeking his fourth term in the Senate, had raised $28 million. Those totals also do not account for tens of millions of dollars dumped into the race by outside groups.

Nelson sailed to wins in his first three U.S. Senate races but faced a far more-formidable opponent in Scott.

Nelson has served in public office for four decades, including as a state legislator (he was first elected in 1972), a congressman, a state Cabinet member and U.S. senator. After winning the governor’s office in 2010, Scott was re-elected in 2014 by defeating former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The Senate race was marked by attacks on each candidate.

Scott’s supporters, for example, tried to portray Nelson as a political hack who had achieved little in the Senate. Nelson’s backers, meanwhile, sought to paint Scott as corrupt and benefiting financially from his job as governor.

The race took an unexpected twist Oct. 10 when Hurricane Michael slammed into Northwest Florida, causing massive damage. Wearing his signature Navy cap, Scott spent much of the next three weeks in the Panhandle, though he returned to the campaign trail last week.

–Dara Kam and Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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24 Responses for “Rick Scott Wins ‘Nasty’ U.S. Senate Race, Ending Bill Nelson’s 46 Years in Government”

  1. Traveling Rep says:

    Bye, Felicia (Nelson).

  2. Makeitso1701 says:

    Racism alive and well in Florida!

  3. David S. says:

    Corruption at its best …..

  4. Me says:

    Nelson was in Government 46 years to long. Ciao

  5. the truth says:

    Last I heard on tv right now it is a tie.

  6. mark101 says:

    Its not over yet. There will be a recount. , And I bet Nelson comes out on top.

  7. capt says:

    Scott’s lead in the Tuesday race is 38,717 votes out of more than 8 million cast — a margin of less than one half of 1 percent.

    Under state law in Florida, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.

  8. Richard says:

    I must admit that the RED Tsunami that I had predicted was more like a high tide HOWEVER that so called “Blue Wave” hit one HUGE RED WALL. Now I predict that the left will even be MORE aggressive, abusive with more lies, more hate and divide this country even further apart with more divisiveness. Time will tell.

    Democrats, here is a challenge for you all; build the wall, take care of the DACA people, build a bipartisan bill for a complete overhaul of the immigration laws, get rid of Obamacare for a healthcare system that works for the American people, reduce spending and lower the deficit.

    Those are just some of the major concerns that this country needs and deserves. When you show that you can work across the aisle just maybe you will be given another chance at the controls of this Great Country.

  9. mausborn says:

    Any politician who fails to understand what the house is in charge of, needs to remember two words : LAME DUCK . Take a civics class. The news media is not a branch of government. Congress is in session!

    Call to order:

    1. Let’s see those taxes

    2. Subpoena Justice Kegstand and get that robe back

    3. Get Jr. in here, we have some questions…

    4.

    5.
    .
    .
    .

    100…. Hold on to your wig Donald Trump it’s gonna get a little bumpy!

  10. Bill says:

    Bill Nelson’s 46 Years in Government
    That says it all NOBODY should be there that LONG.

  11. The Truth says:

    Sounds to me like there is going to be recount, so Scott stop thinking you won, as the saying going it is over until the F– lady sings. And to be honest there is enough corruption in Washington, we don’t need Scott there to add to the choir.
    Look out Trump we got the house back, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Hold onto the wig it is going to be a rough ride from here on out.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Recount requested…

  13. Tampa Native says:

    This now makes Rick Scott a career politician. Can’t use that line anymore.

  14. Deb says:

    Billy Nelson today said he is requesting a recount. Bill please its time for the pasture , do some fishing, hike, make model rockets, go up in the next space flight, just leave.

  15. gmath55 says:

    Can you believe amnesia Nancy Pelosi is going be leader of the House of Representatives? LOL

    Can you believe tent city Maxine Waters is going to run the Financial Services Committee? LOL

  16. Richard says:

    @ mausborn – and what YOU are failing to understand is that your tactic and agenda for the House can bite you and them right in the ass. I would rethink the can of worms that you are attempting to open up.

  17. David S says:

    Scott hold on to your *ss . Trump your in big Trouble along with your son. let the investigations begin I can’t wait…..

  18. Voter Says says:

    I hate people making careers off politics and off our tax dollars. It was long past due for Nelson to go home. I am not a fan of Rick Scott and with someone else would have ran and won. Lets sit back now and see how many more millions Scott will make from this new position. I would like to know if it is known he made millions as Governor why was no investigation done and something done about it?

  19. Bill says:

    @
    Makeitso1701 says:
    November 7, 2018 at 7:48 am
    Racism alive and well in Florida!

    UMMM they are both white guys where do you get using the race card on this one???

  20. Dantel says:

    Google the ages of our Representatives in the House and Senate. It’s like a roll call from an retirement home. No offense but can we please get some younger blood in there for a change? Maybe say, under 70 ??????

  21. mark101 says:

    @Dantel Let Google be your friend, The democrats are pretty old as well. Term Limits for all members of Congress. Dianne Feinstein is 83. , Nancy Pelosi 78. Just to name a few demos.

  22. Makeitso1701 says:

    Simply put, knowing that Slick Scott is in line with the trumpters agenda, which is” make America white again”,
    anyone who voted for Slick knowing that is in my opinion a racist.

  23. Agkistrodon says:

    @Dantel, You mean like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Mark Warner, Rick Blumenthal, BERNIE SANDERS, Ben Cardin, Tom Carper, Chris Coons, Tim Kaine, Ed markey, Pat leahy, Jeane Shaheen, all OLD, ALL DEMOCRAT and ALL WHITE……..give me a break.Do you need some more examples, there are MANY MANY more, and guess what, THEY are all very wealthy.

  24. Bill says:

    “Simply put, knowing that Slick Scott is in line with the trumpters agenda, which is” make America white again”, anyone who voted for Slick knowing that is in my opinion a racist.”

    @makeitso1701, opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

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