Gov. Rick Scott holds narrow edge over incumbent Bill Nelson in Florida Senate race
Numbers released Friday by the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections show that in the Florida Keys, Gov. Rick Scott actually lost his bid for U.S. Senate by 10 votes.
The initial tally after Election Day showed he carried Monroe County by exactly one vote. But an election summary report sent out Friday afternoon shows incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson received 18,036 votes to Scott’s 18,026.
“More ballots came in,” said Joyce Griffin, Monroe County’s supervisor of elections. The additional votes for Nelson came from overseas and provisional ballots, Griffin said.
Scott’s showing in the Keys contrasts with other Republicans running for statewide office in Monroe County, where, outside of heavily progressive Key West, tends to vote solid red.
Both Scott and Ron DeSantis are facing possible statewide recounts as previously uncounted votes narrow already razor-thin margins. A decision is expected Saturday afternoon. But unlike Scott, DeSantis decidedly defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum with almost 52 percent of the vote among Keys voters choosing the next governor.
Likewise, while Rep. Carlos Curbelo lost his reelection bid for the 26th congressional district against Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the district-wide vote count, Keys voters chose him with close to 54 percent of the vote.
Ashley Moody, Republican candidate for attorney general, received more than 52 percent of the Keys vote over her opponent Sean Shaw. And state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, held on to her seat for a final term with 20,441 votes to her challenger Steve Friedman’s 15,442.
Scott has never shown himself to be too popular in the Keys, even among Republicans. In his successful 2014 reelection for governor, he came in 5 percentage points below Charlie Crist in Monroe.
Scott’s showing might be because of his environmental record. Keys Republicans have a history of prioritizing conservationist policies, and some blame Scott for the declining health of Florida Bay’s backcountry and the red-tide algae bloom that plagued the southwest coast this summer.
But some Republicans, like Raschein, say they can’t account for Scott’s lack of apparent support in the Keys, noting, among other actions, his quick reaction in sending resources following September 2017’s devastating Hurricane Irma.
“He’s always been supportive of us in Tallahassee,” Raschein said.