Tags: Mass Shootings | bill nelson | parkland

Sen. Bill Nelson Grabs the Center After Parkland

Image: Sen. Bill Nelson Grabs the Center After Parkland
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. (CQ Roll Call via AP)

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Monday, 12 March 2018 11:36 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Facing what most pundits agree is the toughest race of his political career, Sen. Bill Nelson D-Fla., has emerged in strong shape in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Nelson has frequently been written off in the expected Senate race between him and the popular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, but recent polls show the state’s senior senator rising in key polls.

The latest Quinnipiac poll, taken just two weeks after the Parkland tragedy, had Nelson edging Scott by a margin of 46 to 42 percent. Democrats are cautiously optimistic as almost all major polls taken for recent elections have underweighted Democratic voter turnout.

Nelson has held a moderate position on guns, in sync with independent voters.

After the February killing of 17 students, he joined with Republican Senator Marco Rubio to support legislation that would back and encourage “red flag” state gun laws. Such laws would allow citizens to file to have guns seized after due process from unstable individuals.

Nelson, who also backs gun background checks, said the bill is “a good step in the right direction."

The Quinnipiac survey noted that Nelson’s support is growing. The poll found that while he and Scott have the backing of nearly 90 percent of the voters in their respective parties, Nelson scored big with independent voters, beating Scott 48 to 34 percent.

Scott is feeling the heat. In a key sign he will indeed file to run, the governor broke with the NRA by recently signing new gun control legislation.

Sunshine State pundits agree that Nelson has been more out front on the issue of gun violence. Nelson has long supported a ban on assault rifles and co-sponsored a 2017 bill to ban controversial “bump stocks” that enable a semi-automatic firearm to become almost fully automatic. In 1990, as a congressman, Nelson co-sponsored the Brady Handgun Prevention Act, a law that was backed by former President Ronald Reagan.

Positions like these and others have long helped Nelson consistently woo independent voters and win in swing-state Florida.

“The race is close, but Nelson's double-digit lead with independents puts him in slightly better shape eight months from election day,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll told CBS.

The Florida Senate race is expected to be a bruising and costly battle.

Scott has already launched a super PAC to raise funds for his bid, and some believe the contest may be the most expensive ever.

Scott won the governorship twice, but only after spending over $100 million each time, funding the races with cash infusions from his personal fortune.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Nelson has frequently been written off in the expected race between him and the popular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, but recent polls show the state’s senior senator rising in key polls.
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2018-36-12
Monday, 12 March 2018 11:36 PM
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