The fierce fight for the keys to the governor’s mansion in Florida ended with victory for Republican incumbent Rick Scott and bitter disappointment for Charlie Crist, who served as Republican governor of the state from 2007 to 2011 until switching first to become an independent and then a Democrat.
After a nail-biting night when the advantage swung back and forth between the two men, the final result showed Mr Scott, 61, defeating his Democrat foe 49 per cent to 47 per cent.
It is a worrying omen for Democrats as they look forward to the presidential race of 2016. Whoever ends up being the party’s nominee – and speculation surrounds Hillary Clinton – the road to the White House will be very much harder if the Sunshine State fails to fall into their column.
No race in the midterms was costlier or more bitter than this one. About $150 million were spent as the two men, who clearly disliked one another personally, tried to beat the other into the ground. In the last days of the race, Mr Scott was forced to spend an extra $13 million of his own to stave off what was always a strong challenge by Crist.
US midterm results: state by state
The race hit a low when the first televised debate between the men was delayed for seven minutes when Mr Scott refused to come on the stage after spotting a small electric fan under the podium of Mr Crist who himself insisted on keeping it, apparently fearful he might sweat.
Polls consistently showed that Floridians had overwhelmingly negative views of both men and that in the end they were forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. Mr Crist’s biggest problem was his image as an opportunist who had jumped from party to party simply to satisfy his appetite for high office.Reuse content