Tags: US | democrats | florida | senate race | rick scott | bill nelson

Dems Eye Florida Senate Race as Pivotal Battleground

Dems Eye Florida Senate Race as Pivotal Battleground
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By    |   Monday, 16 October 2017 09:12 AM

Democrats are gearing up for a massive fight to keep Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's seat in the 2018 elections, as the three-term senator is expected to go up against popular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Politico reported on Monday.

Although Scott has not yet officially announced his candidacy, he is expected to do so and has very deep pockets, as he spent at least $86 million of his own fortune on his two gubernatorial campaigns.

Nelson is one of 10 Democrats up for re-election in states carried by President Donald Trump, and among the most vulnerable, made even more so by the GOP's success in getting their voters out to the polls for the presidential election while the efforts of the Democratic field staff fell short.

A Democratic defeat in Florida would almost certainly mean that the party could not retake the Senate next year, which, in any case, is seen as a long shot.

So the party machinery has gone into high gear to try and keep up with Scott's fundraising potential and has already started targeting him as if he's an announced candidate by, among other activities, airing digital ad buys against him.

Scott, who by law is not allowed to remain as governor after 2018, is expected to decide on a Senate bid in the next few months. Trump has privately urged him to run.

Polls show that Scott and Nelson are about tied in a hypothetical matchup.

Nelson hopes that the influx of Puerto Rican evacuees to Florida after Hurricane Maria will boost his chances, since most of them are Democrats, and is encouraging them to register in time for the election, according to the Miami Herald.

Just this month following the hurricane, some 40,000 people have arrived from Puerto Rico and tens of thousands more are expected, which could help tip the balance in a close election.

Republicans have accused Nelson of exploiting the hurricane to fundraise for his campaign, calling it a "disgusting" move, according to Florida Politics.

Scott has a clear advantage in fundraising. In addition to his personal wealth, the governor can raise and spend unlimited dollars from corporations or individuals under Florida law, Politico reported.

However, if he were an announced federal candidate, his fundraising would be as constrained as Nelson's, which is for the most part limited to donations from individuals with a $2,700 limit for each election.

Curt Anderson, the founder of OnMessage, Scott's formidable consulting team, told Politico that the Democrats are in a bind about how much to spend on the Florida race.

"For Schumer and the Democrats, it really comes down to a numbers game: How do you get more seats if they've got 10 of them in states Trump won? When it comes to the Senate, every state is the same," Anderson pointed out. "You get one vote for each ... Where's the biggest bang for the buck? And Florida is really difficult because of how much it costs. You can get three states somewhere else for less money than you need to spend in Florida."

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Democrats are gearing up for a massive fight to keep Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's seat in the 2018 elections, as the three-term senator is expected to go up against popular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Politico reported on Monday.
US, democrats, florida, senate race, rick scott, bill nelson
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2017-12-16
Monday, 16 October 2017 09:12 AM
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