How Scott won is no secret: he "used an overwhelming money advantage" to edge Sink.
"Scott spent more of his own money than any politician in Florida history,"
but needed a wave of conservative activism to push him across the finish line Wednesday morning in what appeared to be the closest governor's race in 134 years."Sink's strongest victories came in counties with the weakest turnout. Fewer than 40 percent of voters cast ballots in Miami-Dade and Broward, the two counties with the most Democrats. Other highlights from the results:"
• Scott won the seven-county Tampa Bay region, traditionally a bellwether in statewide elections, by two percentage points."How Republican Rick Scott won the governor's race".
• Both candidates won their home counties: Collier to Scott and Hillsborough to Sink.
• Sink won the state's largest six counties.
• Scott won 15 counties, including Pasco, that Sink had captured in her successful 2006 chief financial officer campaign.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
How'd Rick Scott win the governor's race? Credit timing (he ran in a year that produced historic gains for the GOP), money (he spent $70 million of his personal fortune) and message (he promised to get 700,000 Floridians jobs)."Governor-elect Rick Scott".
But if Mr. Scott assumes his historically low margin of victory over Alex Sink — returns show him beating her by about 67,000 votes out of more than 5.1 million cast — somehow gives him carte blanche, he's mistaken. Polling reveals more than half of all Floridians maintain a negative opinion of him.
See also "Wave of conservative activism carries Rick Scott to governor's office", "Voter anger with Obama, federal government helped Rubio and Scott, exit polls show", "Anti-Democratic wave strongest on coast" and "Exit polls paint portrait of frightened Floridians".
Related: "Fact-checking Florida's new governor".
Good luck Mr. Scott
Mike Thomas points out a handful of problems the Republicans have created for themselves.
Thomas writes that Rick Scott "has his box of dynamite and plunger, and little loyalty to the status quo. Scott goes to Tallahassee. Tallahassee goes boom."
He has promised the impossible. He faces a $2.5 billion shortfall in existing revenue and has promised to add about $3 billion more in tax cuts. Now throw in the end of the federal-stimulus dollars.Much more here: "When Scott gets to work, what's gonna give?". Related: "Gov.-elect Scott now works 'for every Floridian,' but still going to work his agenda".
Add it all up and you need major cuts in Medicaid and education. But Scott's ability to tinker with Medicaid is limited because it's a federal program, just as his promise to require drug testing for welfare recipients will never fly because of constitutional issues.
Legislative proposals to reform Medicaid center on expanding a managed-care pilot project begun by Jeb Bush. But the Florida Medical Association, which strongly endorsed Scott, opposes managed care because it limits doctor fees.
This should be interesting for the former hospital-system CEO.
Education has long been sacrosanct in the budget, but Scott has proposed cutting $1.4 billion in school taxes. In addition, he wants to eliminate the corporate tax, which funds a voucher program for low-income kids, while at the same time he has called for expanding vouchers.
The state also faces a huge tab to pay for the class-size amendment. And Scott has proposed more money for higher education.
Something important has to give. ...
Legislators have spent the past few years cutting the budget, and all the low-hanging fruit is long gone. They're getting down to the trunk. And now comes a governor who has been oblivious to that process and has little understanding of state government, wielding his shiny ax and demanding more from a budget that per capita already is about the leanest in the nation.
This creates quite the predicament for legislators. They can scarcely say no to tax cuts if Scott insists. Yet they have to balance the budget, and there is no apparent way to do that without a level of bloodletting that may well be unpalatable to the public.
Unlike Scott, a lot of these people understand the wrath of the local PTA. They have sat through the committee meetings slashing nursing-home care for the most vulnerable seniors.
Where do you get another $5 billion?
Good luck Mr. Scott.
"Gov.-elect Rick Scott will announce transition plans Thursday".
Less than 50%
"Before Rick Scott was declared Florida's next governor, Sidney Johnson Catts was the only governor in state history elected with less than 50 percent support, according to the Florida Handbook." "Scott not first Florida governor to squeak to victory".
"Democrats lose clout in Tallahassee". Related: "Expecting a 2010 victory lap, Democrats hit the wall".
Talk or walk?
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Gov.-elect Rick Scott struck the right note Wednesday as he pivoted from first-time candidate to executive-in-waiting of a rock-solid Republican government. The winner of the tightest governor’s race in 134 years said it’s now his job to serve all Floridians and earn the support of those who did not vote for him. His renewed pledge to end 'politics as usual in Tallahassee' is a great place to start." "Chance to clean up Tallahassee".
Wingnuts run wild
The newly installed wingnuts comprising the Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board are thrilled with Florida's right wing tilt:
The "wave" rolled over the Sunshine State, knocking Boyd and three other incumbent Democrats from the House and carrying conservative Republican Marco Rubio to an easy victory in the three-way contest for a Senate seat. Republican businessman Rick Scott rode the crest to a narrow win over Alex Sink in the bitterly fought contest for governor."Democrats paid price for lurch to the left".
In congressional District 24, which includes most of Southeast Volusia County, Republican Sandy Adams defeated incumbent Suzanne Kosmas. National political observers looked to the Adams-Kosmas race as a bellwether; indeed, Adams' decisive win did reflect the strong national GOP trend.
"Gov.-elect Rick Scott declares: 'Let's get to work'".
"Wary of gloating"
"Newly elected Republicans say they're prepared to follow the will of the people -- cut spending, reduce the deficit, lower taxes -- or suffer the same consequences as the Democrats in two years."
In Florida, the GOP wave of 2010 makes 2008 look like an aberration and 2012 look like an opportunity for vengeance."GOP wary of bigger influence in Florida".
Republican presidential contenders can turn to an abundance of party leaders to make introductions and a proven party organization to turn out voters, while the Democratic party boasts only one statewide officeholder, Sen. Bill Nelson.
Still, Florida Republicans assessing the election's results on Wednesday were wary of gloating that the state had returned to its natural resting place.
The Miami Herald editorial board points out that "with overwhelming victory comes overwhelming responsibility. Complete control of state government means Republicans have no excuse for failing to enact their agenda, but governing won't be easy. The GOP centerpiece is producing more jobs. Close behind comes halting the decline in home ownership. How they intend to do all that remains a very big question mark."
"No excuses". The Tampa Tribune editorial board points out that "newly elected Republicans in state and local offices, especially outsiders like Scott whose expertise is business, will find governing more challenging than campaigning." "Wave of change lifts GOP".
Give the Teabaggers what they voted for
After all, "GOP candidates who won gubernatorial races in Florida and Wisconsin on Tuesday are opposed to proposed rail lines in their states, including Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Florida's Rick Scott." "GOP lawmaker may drop Tampa from rail plan". See also "Election results could derail train projects".
That was fast
"The passage of one of two amendments related to redistricting is now being challenged in court." "Congressional redistricting law taken to court".
Another fine RPOF candidate
"Jim Norman, as expected, cruised to an easy victory in state Senate District 12 Tuesday ... Norman still faces an ongoing federal criminal investigation of his dealings with Hughes and possibly an investigation by the state Commission on Ethics." "Unhappy with Norman, thousands picked write-ins or didn't vote".
What about Charlie?
"On Jan. 4, Charlie Crist will step aside as governor of the fourth-largest state and for the first time in 18 years face life outside the public sector. Then what?" "Is this the end for Crist?"
See also "Crist vows to end strong as governor, as new legislature ponders veto overrides", "Crist says he's not sure what his future holds" and "Analysis: What's next for Charlie Crist? Could he convert to Democrat?"
"A rout for Democrats at all levels in Florida"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board:
In Florida, Alex Sink lost the gubernatorial campaign because Rick Scott relentlessly tied her to the president and his policies. Pam Bondi won the attorney general's race by promising to continue the state's lawsuit against Obamacare."A repudiation of Obama's agenda".
And it was a rout for Democrats at all levels in Florida. Democrats lost their bid for the county commission in Hillsborough, and incumbent Democrats lost elections in Pasco and Polk counties.
"Tense moments for Sink, Scott camps as votes were tallied".
Class size dance
"Class-size issue shy of required 60 percent". See also "Next move on class size: More tweaks, possible lawsuit".
"Volusia County election officials will recount votes for an Ormond Beach race and city of Edgewater amendment. The canvassing board will meet Friday to recount the ballots." "Ballot recounts scheduled in Volusia County".
What's next isn't clear
Bill Cotterell: "Vote was decisive; what's next isn't as clear". The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Scott must forge relationships to be an effective governor".
"A long-term realignment?"
"Floridians reject Obama-Pelosi agenda in droves; does 2010 presage a long-term realignment?" "Democrats Blue Over GOP Gains". See also "Republicans Increase Majority in Florida Senate".
Chamber hacks dancing in the streets
"Florida Business Leaders ‘Ecstatic’ After Midterm Results".
We meant what we said
"Teachers cheer defeat of class-size change".
"After steering millions in public dollars to the Florida Marlins, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is getting financial backing from the team to fight a recall effort." "Marlins give $50,000 to help Miami-Dade Mayor Alvarez fend off recall".
"An on-again, off-again problem"
"Once again, the land of the butterfly ballot and hanging chads kept the country waiting for answers about who won on Election Night. Palm Beach County vote counting delays have been an on-again, off-again problem that gained national attention when the county found itself at the epicenter of the disputed 2000 presidential election." "Palm Beach County's slow election returns draw renewed scrutiny".
Ileana in charge
"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami is the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee. She has backed the war in Iraq, pushed for implementing sanctions against Iran and joined other Cuban-American lawmakers in opposing proposals to improve relations with Cuba's government as long as it is led by the Castros." "GOP chairs to have big impact".