In what looks to be the most expensive Senate race this election cycle, incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson seeks to retain his seat amidst Class I elections that pit the Democratic Party against the worst Senate map any party has seen in the last half century—facing what looks to be his stiffest electoral competition yet.
The Rhetoric and Play
Nelson’s re-election campaign pivots largely on a combination of appealing to moderates and popularity among the more politically energized youth. As a southern Democrat originally elected in 1978, Nelson has never been very liberal or progressive like many of his Senate colleagues, so the threat of base turnout is very real.
Rather than an attack specifically against Trump and Capitol Hill Republicans, Nelson’s message gives off old-school vibes of “Washington isn’t doing enough”. Through campaigning on a purportedly poor federal reaction to natural disaster and Scott’s poor track record in a state where the environment is a crucial factor, Nelson seems to have covered a bit of ground with the new progressive Democratic base as well as not turning away moderate or otherwise undecided voters.
Speaking of undecided voters, Scott doesn’t seem to be doing very well with them. Though the governor has a massive edge in terms of name recognition among constituents, this may in fact be the decisive factor that acts against a Scott victory. Close affiliation with Trump and unpopular flabbergasts in past years decidedly put off still-undecided voters (yes, they actually do exist in this race). Surmising that this is a notable factor, Scott could counteract this by running to rile up turnout among his conservative base, which seems to be the case in his cautions of the fate of America if a Democratic majority Senate were to come to power.
What You Clicked For
But enough talking. You’ve waited. And here they are. Lone Umbrella’s county outcome prediction maps for the Florida Senate race are complete!Outcomes involved in creating these maps:
- 2016 Florida Senate election—Murphy vs. Rubio
- Rubio won this one with the largest raw vote in Florida history and a margin of eight points.
- Opponent Patrick Murphy was a relatively popular and charismatic Democrat, but name recognition put the ball in Rubio’s court—along with his incumbency advantage.
- 2012 Florida Senate election—Nelson vs. Mack
- Early polls indicated Mack with a lead over incumbent Senator Nelson.
- Progression of the race showed a vulnerable Nelson with a three to seven point lead.
- Election night showed Nelson very comfortably cruise to a victory by well over a million votes and a margin of 13 points.
- 2016 Presidential election in Florida—Trump vs. Clinton
- 2014 Florida gubernatorial election—Scott vs. Crist
- A very tight race. Scott won by a mere sixty thousand votes; a margin of less than a percent.
- Though a tight margin for an incumbent governor, Crist was a notable opponent well known among Floridians as Republican-turned-Democrat former governor of the state.