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Little counties pack big Republican punch for Rick Scott

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:

Okaloosa: 27,674
Clay: 27,287
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).

The solid North Florida thumping raises questions about Sink’s attempts to appeal to rural voters by distancing herself from President Obama. All it might have done is distance some Obama voters from her.

Sink lost counties like Flager and Volusia, where Obama won. Relative to Obama’s margins, Sink's support was also weaker than Obama's in Miami-Dade, Broward,  Hillsborough, Pinellas and Orange counties.

Earlier in the campaign, Sink said she was watching North Florida. There could be a case to be made that she stopped looking South in the process.

But then, maybe Sink was just unlucky. Or just doomed. Consider the bloodbath: statewide, Democrats lost the races for governor, chief financial officer, agriculture commissioner, attorney general and U.S Senate. They lost four of their 10 congressional seats, and didn't pick up one. And they lost enough seats in the state House and Senate that Republicans say they now have a veto-proof majority in the Legislature -- just in case.

Soon, Sink's campaign will brief reporters in Tampa, and will likely vow to fight or count on. But the way the votes are breaking, it's looking more and more like Scott's the 45 governor of Florida.



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Thanks for this thorough update. I've been waiting all night for Fox to call this race, but they haven't said anything, except the race is "too close to call." You've been very specific and that is satisfying.


it's so funny seeing the sullen face and tone by the media.

Bryan D Taylor

I agree, Peter... especially since they're so 'unbiased'.


Seriously, what protections exist in the law such that unindicted coconspirators or those who take the 5th Amendment in RICO insurance fraud cases are not allowed to run for office?


I watched the "unbiased" crew at MSNBC last night and talk about a group of unhappy Democratic Liberals! Matthews, Maddow, and Olberman were all pissed off and it showed on their faces.

Victor J. Hayes

This election is SHAMEFUL and Florida is once again the class clown.

Dr. Morris Fishbein

Time for South Florida to secede. Kick all of those clueless hicks north of Orlando to the curb. They can hook up with Georgia and Alabama or make their own nice little state and have a contest with Mississippi for the dumbest state in the union.

John Gonzalez

No wonder we are in total economic caos.Republicans vote ONLY republican and so do democrats ,it doesn't matter how crooked the candidate is;the people of Florida in my opinion are blind and dumb.Should Scott win God have mercy on this banana state.
John Gonzales, PhD.


Jokes on us. A man that robbed the Government of 1.7 Billion, is now the Government.

He is a businessman and that 75 million he invested to win this election, you best believe he will make that back and plenty more robbing from the inside now.


News for your Dr. Einstein...Mississippi certainly does lack, but Georgia is a bit more educated than Florida, and likely substantially more than SF. Florida, as a state, is below average most if not all educational attainment categories.


That being said, Rick Scott will likely face some sort of additional criminal investigation while in office.

Jacqueline Cobb

Great, we've elected a black man as president of the United States of America. We have elected an incompetent/criminal (Miami Herald, 10/24) as Florida governor. Yet, our time hasn't come. It is sad to say, but it reaffirms what I thought when Obama got by my candidate, Hillary Clinton: DISCRIMINATION IS ALIVE AND WELL (STILL). Unfortunately, at time where a black man can be president, gays have rights (no one should discriminate against/or oppress anyone - period, so they deserve to be happy, like anyone else; futhermore, I condemn the bullying tactics used against them as shameful), and even a criminal can be governor (as long as it is a man) - what is wrong with electing a woman? I had a HUGE problem when they chose Obama over a MUCH BETTER QUALIFIED CLINTON! Now, I see the SAME TREATMENT with my candidate, Alex Sink. WAKE UP! Get OUT of the sticks! You have shamed, tainted, and sullied my beloved Florida. You have now made it the LAUGHING STOCK STATE (I've already heard comments trashing it today; thanks for humiliating it with those two of "questionable repute," to say the VERY least). I wish Norman Braman would recall this guy! I for one, am about restoring honor to my birth state, my beloved Florida. God help us!

Jacqueline Cobb,
M.B.A., Ph.D. (ABD)

Martin James

Enough venting. Please look at this link which may explain why Rick Scott has had to endure so much negativity about his business practices.


I find it amazing that all these people claiming to be educated can be so misinformed. It's also a mystery how a PhD can misspell, "chaos."

Timothy Williams

Governors office, bought and paid for. Nasty attack Note that neither governor or senator received 50 &ads by nameless out of state forces win at every level so we can look foreward to more mean ads in future elections. Republicans already bragging about one party rule in Tallahassee while complaining about it i Washington. Tea party guys across nation want to keep hispaic immigrants out of country will have to live with florida's new senator.

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