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The other Bill McCollum slayer

Sure, Rick Scott beat Bill McCollum thanks to $50m in campaign spending and a year where political outsiders are in danger.

But here's a lesser-known reason: spokeswoman Jen Baker (nee Coxe). Her mantra this campaign season: "You don't understand. Bill McCollum can't win."

It's sounded so.... well... so 2004.

Back then, she was the mouthpiece for Mel Martinez's bruising U.S. Senate campaign against McCollum, a race that left McCollum supporters bitter to this day. Her fiery rhetoric matching her hair, Baker talked about how "soft" Republican support for McCollum was, how he wasn't conservative enough for a GOP primary, etc.

Not much seems to have changed with McCollum in six years. Nor Baker, who celebrated her 30-something-ish birthday on election night. So it made sense that Rick Scott would hire the Citrus County-raised political junkie, who has a ready-made understanding of McCollum's vulnerabilities, and a willingness to exploit them at every turn.

"He can't win. I've seen the polling," she said repeatedly in the past few weeks. When a reporter (me) said in late July that McCollum would take it, she had one response: "la-la land."