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Florida Senate race results: Rick Scott claims win over Bill Nelson

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rick scott
Florida
Governor Rick Scott speaks about hurricane relief measures for
Florida and Puerto Rico at the White House in Washington, U.S.,
September 29, 2017.

Reuters/Joshua
Roberts


  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed victory in the US Senate race
    in Florida.
  • The state had been recently ravaged by a hurricane,
    which put much of the campaign activities for both candidates
    on hold.
  • Scott would serve alongside Republican Marco Rubio in
    the Senate, who won reelection in 2016.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott claimed victory in the US Senate race in
Florida, where he would unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill
Nelson.

Scott, the Republican candidate, had been serving as governor
since 2011, but was barred from running for reelection again due
to Florida’s swift term limits. Nelson conceded after midnight,
according to the Tampa Bay
Times
.

“Congratulations to Governor Rick Scott on his hard-fought
victory tonight. During his time as Florida’s Governor, Rick
Scott has worked tirelessly to turn around Florida’s economy and
create good-paying jobs across the state. It’s clear his
leadership has not gone unnoticed by Floridians,” National
Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner said in a
statement.

He added: “Tonight, voters have sent a strong message that they
want a proven leader representing them in Washington, and we have
no doubt that Governor Scott will continue to deliver for
Floridians in the U.S. Senate.”

During the course of the election cycle, Scott spent tens of
millions of dollars from his vast personal fortune to bolster his
own campaign. In the final two weeks, he spent nearly $12.5
million, bringing the total to over $64 million of his own money,
according to the
Tampa Bay Times
.

Nelson, the incumbent Democrat, has been serving in the Senate
since 2001. Though at the start of the 2018 campaign, Nelson
still had a relatively
low level of name recognition
in his state.

Nelson regularly hit Scott for his environmental record, and
enlisted the help of former President Barack Obama, who made a
last-minute swing through the state on Friday for the several
candidates on the ballot in Florida.

At the Miami rally, Obama bolstered Nelson keeping his Senate
seat a key component of uniting Americans from the sharp racial
and political divides plaguing the country.

“In four days you can choose a bigger, more prosperous, more
generous vision of America — an America where love and hope
conquer hate,” he said.


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Florida, one of the most crucial swing states, had been hit with
a hurricane just several weeks before Election Day. During the
cleanup effort, both candidates sparred with each other as they
attempted to fulfill the duties to their constituents.

The state was a hotbed for highly contested races in 2018, with
many swing districts battling it out for House seats. In
addition, the gubernatorial race between Republican Rep. Ron
DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum became one of the
most heated in the country.

Gillum sparred with DeSantis over campaign tactics and rhetoric,
which he said made racists and white nationalists very fond of
the Republican Trump ally.

“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply
saying the racists believe he’s a racist,” Gillum
said
during a heated debate.

DeSantis ultimately
defeated
Gillum, who conceded earlier Tuesday evening.

Trump won Florida in 2016, convincing Republicans to go all in on
the swing state’s Senate race

The Sunshine State went for President Donald Trump in the 2016
presidential election, handing him a key victory in his path to
winning the presidency.

Trump traveled to Florida at the end of October during his final
stint on the campaign trail to bolster Republicans. During a
rally, Trump bashed Nelson as “a vote for Chuck Schumer.”

“I am here a lot and I never see Sen. Nelson until six
months before the election,” Trump added.
 

The fate of Nelson’s seat was another key component in
Republicans’ ability to strengthen their majority in the Senate.
Florida was among the high priority targets for the National
Republican Senatorial Committee in their endeavor to flip several
seats from blue to red.

In unseating Nelson, Scott has solidified Florida as a Republican
stronghold in the Senate for several years to come. Scott is also
primed to position himself as another crucial ally for Trump in
the Senate, which will no doubt continue its
breakneck speed
of confirming judicial nominees, a top
priority for the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell.

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