Florida Governor Rick Scott has been reelected. After a bitter, expensive campaign against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, Scott declared victory by a 1.3 percent margin Tuesday night.
Scott carried 48.2 percent of the vote as of 11:30 p.m. Many precincts are still counting mail-in ballots. But Scott held enough of a lead over Crist's 46.96 percent for Crist to concede.
Going into Election Day, Republicans held a roughly 3 percent edge in ballots already cast. Comparing that with the 12 percent Republican pre-election edge in the 2010 midterm election, some political scientists said the Democratic gains could bode well for Crist. But an increase in Democrats' use of mail-in ballots was also expected to disrupt the parties' historical voting trends, making the race's outcome harder to predict.
Poll after poll showed Scott and Crist with near equal support among Florida voters, meaning a win would depend on who could turn out the most supporters. As of this post, Scott had a 76,747-vote lead.
Incoming Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) released this statement congratulating Scott:
“For the last four years, Governor Scott has been a tireless advocate for Florida’s families. From day one, he hit the ground running as he worked to recruit and retain the private sector businesses that have created more than 600,000 jobs in our state. Governor Scott worked with the Legislature to increase education funding to unprecedented levels, to cut taxes by over $500 million, and improve protections for the most vulnerable in our society. My colleagues and I look forward to the next four years and the opportunity to continuing working with Governor Scott to keep Florida on the road to full economic recovery.”
Also reuniting with Scott on the Florida Cabinet are Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, all fellow Republicans who also fought off challengers this midterm.