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Scott takes lead in tight Senate race

EN Photo by Bret Munson // Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a rally in Fort Myers prior to the election.

By Emily Kois

Managing Editor


The 2018 United States Senate race in Florida remained too close to call Tuesday night with Gov. Rick Scott appearing to take a decisive lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Nelson refused to concede because of what his campaign said was irregularities in south Florida. 

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As of the time of publication, several news outlets reported that Nelson has conceded, but his campaign would not make an official address to the public until later on Wednesday.

If Scott does win, the victory would give Republicans another Senate seat, which the Republicans currently control the majority. Based on several early polls, Nelson was predicted to win.

The House of Congress, which was initially held by Republicans going into Tuesday night, flipped blue, leading to a 204-187 majority in favor  of the Democrats at the time of publication.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was running for re-election to a fourth term. Senator Nelson was being challenged by incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott. This was one of many close races in the 2018 Senate elections. This race also marked 2018’s most expensive Senate race. 

Both candidates addressed national issues such as health care and immigration, along with local concerns, such as post-hurricane recovery and the influx of toxic algae into Florida’s waters.

Nelson, who was first elected in 2000, is currently the only Democrat in statewide office in Florida. He also served in Congress and in the Florida House of Representatives.

Senator Nelson ran on the issue of health care, a big topic of concern in the state. He wanted to protect the Affordable Care Act and expand Medicaid. This is the opposite of Governor Scott, as he opposes the health care law. 

Immigration was also a major topic during this election. Nelson has long supported immigration reform that would give visas to some undocumented immigrants while at the same time increase border security. 

Another major issue against these two is the issue of harmful algal blooms. Nelson has blamed Scott throughout the campaign for the rise of toxic algae that has been damaging Florida coasts.

Florida Governor Rick Scott spent $60 million of his own money on the race to unseat Nelson.

As governor, Scott criticized the Affordable Care Act and had wavering thoughts on the Medicaid expansion. Scott also called for the repeal of Obamacare; however, he does plan to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Scott also supported lower state taxes and the tax bill passed by the Republicans at the end of 2017.

On the issue of immigration, Scott responded by saying he opposes illegal immigration, but has also asked Congress to secure the immigration status of DREAMers under DACA.

Another largely debated topic was the issue of gun control. Following the Parkland shooting, Scott signed a gun and school safety bill that imposed new age limits on rifle purchases. He also created a provision that would allow guns to be taken from an individual considered to be a threat.

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