Though all votes haven’t been tallied in Democrat-rich Palm Beach County yet (it's just after 5 a.m. Wednesday), Republican Rick Scott looks as if he beat Democrat Alex Sink statewide by about a percentage point: 49-48. That’s the same margin that the exit polls predicted about 8 p.m. Tuesday.
While success has many fathers, Scott owes a good debt of gratitude to North Florida counties. These rural tracts helped nudge Scott past Sink. Consider his lead in just three otherwise little-seeming counties:
Santa Rosa: 22,151
Together, those three account for enough votes (77,000) to exceed Scott’s statewide lead (72,000) over Sink.
The big margins run up by Scott in most rural Florida areas largely negated the leads that Sink built up in the cities. And her margins in the cities, especially South Florida, weren’t big enough. She only edged Scott by 15 percentage points in Miami-Dade, where she pulled in 68,000 more votes than Scott. (There could be a Rubio Effect that attracted Miami-Dade voters to the Republican ticket).