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November 2014

Rick Scott wins, Charlie Crist not conceding

Republican Rick Scott won a second term by a slim 80,000 vote margin out of 5.9 million votes. Scott won 48 percent of the vote, keeping office the same way he won it the first time - with less than a majority of Florida voters supporting him.

Charlie Crist failed to get enough votes in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties - Democratic strongholds - to edge past Scott. It is the second crushing defeat for Crist who lost a ill-fated U.S. Senate bid first as Republican and independent to Republican Marco Rubio.

Throughout the week, Republicans were quietly predicting that Scott would lose. Some were already plotting a new course with Crist as governor. Scott's victory puts those concerns aside. 

An AP exit poll found that most voters believe Crist switched parties to further his own political career rather than because of personal political beliefs. While Crist had strong support from black, Hispanic and young voters, Scott had overwhelming support from white voters, particularly seniors.

Florida Democrats placed all of their hopes in Crist. They had - and have - no one else. As the saying goes, their bench is weak.

What kind of governor will Scott be in his second term? He gave no hint in his very short victory speech which he ended with - "let's get to work."

Crist called Scott to concede moments before Scott took the stage.

Crist told a disappointed audience that "it's no fun to lose."





Charlie Crist campaign files emergency motion to extend voting in Broward

This just in from Charlie Crist campaign:

Update: Motion denied.

Crist for Governor Campaign Files Emergency Motion to Extend Voting Hours in Broward
Ft.  Lauderdale, Fla. – The Crist for Governor campaign is filing an emergency motion with the Circuit Court for the 17th Judicial Circuit to extend voting hours in Broward County from 7pm to 9pm.  The campaign is doing so due to several individual and systemic breakdowns that made it difficult for voters to cast regular ballots:

  • The polling station located at the Croissant Park Elementary School was offline for over an hour and a half this morning – this caused major delays and impacted voters looking to cast a ballot before work.
  • EVID malfunctions in precincts throughout the county caused confusion among voters who were unable to update their address at polling precincts. Those voters were bounced between local precincts and SOE headquarters – ultimately, the system did not register them and they were unable to cast regular ballots.
  • The delay and confusion caused by those EVID malfunctions compounded county-wide confusion related to recent re-precincting. We have reports in many cases that voters who were confused about their proper polling location were provided conflicting information and, in many cases, simply gave up attempting to cast a regular ballot.

You can view the motion here.
A similar request was made to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, who denied it.

What to expect the day after the election

Family (2)
Wednesday morning will be dreadful for at least one of Florida’s candidates for governor. After a long night, either Democrat Charlie Crist or Republican Rick Scott will stare in the mirror and see a loser.  And this loser will never again succeed in politics.

It will be over.

For Crist, a loss after the quixotic twirl from Republican to independent to Democrat would be an utter and humiliating defeat. His new Democratic Party friends will quickly forget his cell phone number. Democrats will go back to fretting about who might lead the party in what will continue to look like a cloudy future for them in the Sunshine State.

For Scott, a loss would end a startlingly quick and brief career in politics. Even Jeb Bush had to play the game of being a state employee as former Governor Bob Martinez's Commerce Department secretary. And Bush had to lose a very difficult race in 1994 before defeating Democrat Buddy McKay four years later.  He is beloved by many Florida Republican and who have made him their fantasy president.

Not so Rick Scott. No one suggests that Scott is presidential material. No one looks to him to be a potential Veep. Even if Scott wins, that dynamic will not change. Scott's sudden emergence in Florida politics won him numerous friends out of necessity. If Scott loses, Republicans will abandon him as quickly as they embraced him because they had nowhere else to go.

One of these gentlemen is going to be very lonely on Wednesday.

Losing is tough.

Another group of losers will be the highly paid consultants who developed the campaign strategy, assured the candidate he could win, and blew it, in large part, because the strategy did not work. Consultants will not take the blame for a loss. Instead, they will quietly explain to friendly reporters that the plan would have worked if only the candidate could have pulled it off. They will blame the weather, who had more money, fickle voters, rain, the full moon.

But consultants really never lose. There is always the next campaign.

Should Crist win, the insular world of Tallahassee will look like the Walking Dead. Shell shocked lobbyists will worry that they did not give enough hedge-your-bet money to Crist. They will frantically reach out offering to be part of the transition team, host the inaugural, - golly Charlie, what can we do to help?

For decades a number of lobbyists in Tallahassee bragged that they learned at the feet of beloved governors LeRoy Collins, Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles. They were loyal Democrats who dismissed Republicans as a mere inconvenience.

When Jeb Bush and the GOP took over Tallahassee, some of those acolytes suddenly discovered they were quite conservative after all. Expect some similar conversions (complicated by a still conservative legislature) to take place if Crist wins.

Another loser could be the Tallahassee Press Corps. If Scott wins, his loathing of the media and Press corps skits one
deep felt belief that the public has no business knowing the public's business is likely to flower.

Should Crist win, he will likely embrace the media, as he has always done, but perhaps a bit more cautiously. Access to public records should be less of a problem.

Pity the ambitious folks on Florida's Cabinet if Crist wins. For CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a successful Crist term as governor could stall their ambition to become governor.

If Scott wins, he is out of governor's mansion at the end of his term creating an open seat for the Cabinet trio to salivate over. One of them might run against incumbent Crist but it's no fun running against the guy who already has the job.

Which brings us to 2016.

On Wednesday both Scott and Crist should announce they have no interest in being anyone's running mate - and really mean it. Especially Crist.

Now 2018.

If Scott wins, expect to start hearing that he will run for the U.S. Senate. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is up for reelection and some Democrats are convinced he will not run.

Even if Nelson did decide to go for a fourth term, Scott has shown he is willing to spend whatever money it takes to win.

If Crist wins, expect him to run for a second term. WORKERSCOMPfx

And finally, this prediction.

If Scott loses, he leaves Florida (I want to live closer to my grandchildren).

If Crist loses, he returns to John Morgan's law firm but the giant Morgan billboards with Crist looking down, will disappear, just like Crist.

Happy Election.


Art by Patrick Crowley Copyright @Crowley Political Report. All rights reserved.