Rick Scott Defeats Charlie Crist In Florida

Rick Scott Charlie Crist

Florida Governor Rick Scott has held off a strong challenger from former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to win re-election:

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has won a tight reelection race against Democrat Charlie Crist in one of the closest, costliest and most bitter contests in the country.

Scott had received 48 percent of the votes when The Associated Press called the race with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Crist received 47 percent.

The rivalry between the highly unpopular candidates was on full display throughout the campaign. A mid-October debate between the two candidates was dubbed “fangate” after Scott did not show up on stage for the first seven minutes because Crist had an electronic fan – which Scott said was against the rules — beneath his podium.

Fan aside, Scott repeatedly attacked Crist — the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who served as governor before him — as an untrustworthy flip-flopper with a poor record on jobs. The multimillionaire incumbent also frequently talked about his humble upbringing.

“I watched my parents lose the only family car,” he said in one debate. “I watched a father struggle to buy Christmas presents. I went through that as a child.”

But Scott’s upbringing did not stop Democrats from characterizing the incumbent as out-of-touch with the economic struggles of Florida families. They also hit Scott on his record as chief executive of health care provider Columbia/HCA, which was investigated for Medicare fraud after Scott left.

Crist also repeatedly targeted Scott’s claims of being a job creator, saying the Republican gave huge tax breaks to big businesses that in the end did not deliver the promised jobs.

“If you’re somebody like Rick Scott, and you have a private jet and you fly 30,000 feet above people all the time, or you live in an oceanfront mansion, you’re out of touch, and you’re not feeling what people who are watching tonight are feeling at home,” Crist said late in the campaign.

Both sides spent about $80 million on ads alone, according to The Wesleyan Media Project. Polls had the race tied for much of the campaign, though some late surveys showed Crist with a slight edge.

This one went the opposite direction of what I had predicted, but the race was close enough that it’s not entirely surprising that Scott was able to pull it off, especially given the fact that there wasn’t much about Charlie Crist that recommended him over Scott. Indeed, much like the Virginia Governor’s race in 2013, this ended up being a race between two pretty unlikable candidates and, given the fact that he was an incumbent during a time when the economy was improving was likely one of the main reasons that Scott won here, along with the fact that Crist really wasn’t offering anything new to the residents of Florida. As I observed earlier tonight, though, the interesting thing about this race is that, no matter who won, neither candidate has much of a national political future, which is unusual given the fact that you’d think that someone who wins twice in Florida would automatically become a national political figure. Given their own tarnished resumes, though, I don’t see that happening for Scott and it would not have happened had Crist won the race either.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. This is obviously the result of Florida’s growing python problem. They always block vote for one of their own.

  2. Tillman says:

    As I observed earlier tonight, though, the interesting thing about this race is that, no matter who won, neither candidate has much of a national political future, which is unusual given the fact that you’d think that someone who wins twice in Florida would automatically become a national political figure.

    Are there examples of this?

  3. @Tillman:

    Jeb Bush

  4. Gustopher says:

    I’m hoping Rick Scott thinks this means he does have a future in national politics. He would be great in early the Republican Presidential debates.

    He would be the one candidate who could campaign on stopping fraud and abuse in Medicare, and actually be in a position to immediately do something about it.

  5. Pinky says:

    Times like this, it’s important to stop and remember that it wasn’t just good people winning yesterday – bad candidates lost. Charlie Crist, Wendy Davis, Mark Uterus. Someone asked me if I’d feel schadenfreude over a Republican win. I don’t. I feel happiness for the country, and I can’t wait to see what some of these new stars accomplish. I’m happy that Crist isn’t back in prominence, and I’m proud of Florida.

  6. BIll says:

    The wife and I voted Libertarian yesterday. Neither of can stand either Scott or Crist.

  7. Andre Kenji says:

    I did not believe that Democrats had nominated Crist. No wonder that they lost.

  8. stonetools says:

    So Lex Luthor wins again…

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Someone asked me if I’d feel schadenfreude over a Republican win. I don’t. I feel happiness for the country, and I can’t wait to see what some of these new stars accomplish. I’m happy that Crist isn’t back in prominence, and I’m proud of Florida.

    Accomplish? LOL!