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Nearly all Senate candidates are jumping for the Trump 'outsider' label


In a year when Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner, the anti-establishment momentum of the presidential race is trickling down-ballot.

Call it the Trump effect or the Bernie Sanders effect, but on both sides of the aisle, nearly all of the seven candidates for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat — even some sitting congressmen — are angling to be seen as "the outsider."

But some experts say laying claim to being the outsider may not be the boon candidates hope for, even in an election cycle that's so anti-Washington.

"In terms of the effect of Trump down-ballot, nobody knows," said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook political report. "Everybody is in pretty uncharted water."

But Florida's in an unusual position, as well, with the incumbent, Sen. Marco Rubio, not seeking re-election.

"There's something that is so unique to Trump that I'm not sure it's easily translated to another race," said Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Rothenberg and Gonzales political report.

It's made more complex by the nearly six-month gap between Florida's presidential primary and the Aug. 30 Senate primary and by polls showing that as many as half the voters don't have an opinion of the candidates.

"It's just amazing how undefined these candidates are," Duffy said.

For the last month, Republicans especially have hurled criticisms at one another, trying to make their opponents out to be part of the political elite.

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