But Florida’s senior senator bagged something bigger Thursday: the rapt attention of the news media.
With a Florida Wildlife commissioner who goes by "Alligator Ron" Bergeron and snake hunters — including one wrangler called "Python Dave" — Nelson and a team of biologists and naturalists roamed the River of Grass to raise awareness about the invasive snakes that are gobbling up the creatures of the Everglades.
The wildlife commission has launched a “Python Challenge” cash-prize contest, which began last Saturday, to get more people to kill more of the snakes.
"These pythons eat everything in the Everglades: bobcats, deer, even alligator and maybe endangered Florida panther," Nelson said.
"These snakes are dangerous. There was a child killed in Central Florida by one of these kept as pets," he said. "The pythons don’t belong here."
But Nelson does.
The Everglades is a piece of Florida history and a place for threatened and endangered species. And Nelson, the only statewide elected Florida Democrat, has been a threatened political species since he first won his Senate seat in 2000.