Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott beat out challenger Charlie Crist to win Florida for the GOP, after a race that was too close to call until the very end.
Crist made a last-minute attempt to extend voting by two hours in heavily Democratic Broward County late on Tuesday night, claiming mechanical equipment failed to function properly until 8:45 a.m., and was twice denied. The county supervisor of elections first denied the request and Crist filed another emergency motion with the 17th Judicial Circuit and was rejected as well.
Crist has been campaigning heavily in the area and said just last week his victory “comes down to Broward County.”
The race has been stranger than most, as Crist and Scott have served as successive Republican governors of the state. Crist served as the Republican Governor of Florida for four years, before leaving for an unsuccessful Senate bid. After losing the Republican nomination for Senate in 2010, Crist continued to run as an Independent and lost to Sen. Marco Rubio. He’s since become part of the Democratic Party, after endorsing President Barack Obama in 2012, and challenged Scott, his successor, as a member of the other party.
FiveThirtyEight noted that both gubernatorial candidates are extremely unpopular in Florida. Both have a negative net favorable rating — which has only happened twice before, according to the blog. Scott started out in early 2014 down significantly in the polls against Crist, but his campaign recovered and the race has been tight for months. Leading up to election day, the Real Clear Politics poll average had Crist leading by just 0.6 percent.
It’s somewhat unsurprising. The Florida campaign has been characterized by negative ads, and a lot of them — the campaigns and their allies spent at least $104 million on TV ads since March, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The two had a notable spat delaying their final debate because Crist insisted on keeping a banned electronic fan on stage with him. (RELATED: Rick Scott Refuses To Appear On Debate Stage Because Charlie Crist Has A Banned Electronic Fan)
Scott has attacked Crist’s bumpy political history, arguing that he’s only being in the race for political reasons. Crist has, in turn, hit Scott for turning down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and has suggested he would overrule the state’s Republican legislature if elected and implement the expansion through an executive order.