1. The Buzz

Florida election results for U.S. Senate race between Rick Scott, Bill Nelson

Follow along as the Times' politics team tracks the election results.
Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
Published Nov. 6, 2018
Updated Nov. 7, 2018

Here’s what you need to know about Florida’s U.S. Senate race:

  • The race between incumbent Dem. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott has been neck-and-neck for weeks, with Nelson pulling ahead  slightly in recent polls. 
  • Democrats came into the day with edge in early turnout, but the race could come down to which party gets the most voters to the polls on Tuesday.

12:25 a.m. Hi everyone. This is the last post in this blog. Thanks for following along. For more politics coverage, go to our Buzz blog or

12:24 a.m. Our story about Scott’s victory.

12:16 a.m. From Nelson’s campaign spokesman:

12:15 a.m. Nelson concedes. It’s over.

12:11 a.m. From Orlando, where a shrinking crowd awaits word.

11:58 p.m Scott’s speech is over. Nothing from the Nelson camp yet.

11:57 p.m. From Scott’s speech.

11:53 p.m. In Orlando, Nelson supporters haven’t heard yet that Scott is declaring victory.

11:50 p.m. From the ballroom in Naples.

11:49 p.m. Scott about to address the crowd in Naples.

11:47 p.m Rick Scott has declared victory.

11:36 p.m. Nelson is waiting for the Broward County votes to be counted.

11:30 p.m. Scott is up by about 57,000 votes.

Scott -- 50.36 percent

Nelson -- 49.64 percent

11:26 p.m. Scott’s crowd still waiting for Scott.

11:25 p.m. The mystery appears to have been solved.

11:18 p.m. More on the Palm Beach County numbers mystery.

11:08 p.m. Florida being Florida? We might be here for a while.

10:59 p.m. Many in the crowd of Nelson supporters in the Orlando ballroom have gone home.

10:46 p.m. Here’s part of the reason why the votes could be taking so long to count. The Times Zack Sampson reports:

An NBC journalist in Broward County reported that seven precincts there could not electronically submit votes and had to physically transport jump drives to election headquarters, holding up tabulation.

10:40 p.m. Here are the counties still counting votes.

10:25 p.m. Scott remains ahead by more than 60,000 votes with only a handful of counties still counting votes.

Scott -- 4,026,282

Nelson -- 3,965,820

10:06 p.m. Fun with numbers.

9:48 p.m. Nelson crowd starting to thin out.

9:44 p.m. Could Rick Scott break 50 percent for the first time? It’s starting to seem likely.

9:39 p.m. Rick Scott continues to lead by about 75,000 votes.

9:30 p.m. Nelson supporters at his Orlando event hold out hope as counties get close to finishing counting all the votes.

9:05 p.m. Last ditch effort by Andrew Gillum to get democrats to stay in line to vote.

8:54 p.m. Nelson supporters on edge as Scott pulls ahead by more than 50,000 votes. Heavily democratic Broward County still counting tens of thousands of votes.

8:48 p.m. How long will it take to decide some of these close races?

8:40 p.m. Pinellas County voted in favor of Bill Nelson. With all precincts reporting:

Nelson -- 52.3 percent

Scott -- 47.3 percent

Write in -- 0.4 percent

8:36 p.m. With all 110 precincts counted, Pasco County voted strongly in favor of Rick Scott.

Scott -- 57.32 percent

Nelson -- 42.19 percent

Write in -- 0.49 percent

8:25 p.m. Hillsborough’s votes are nearly all in.

8:22 p.m. It’s a close one for sure.

7:55 p.m. Rick Scott is doing better in Hillsborough County than Donald Trump two years ago.

7:48 p.m. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Nelson supporters are liking what they see in Pinellas County.

7:45 p.m. The ballroom in Naples where Scott will appear later this evening is filling up.

7:27 p.m. The Times' Steve Contorno makes a good point about Hillsborough County and its fallen status as a bellwether county.

7:19 p.m. From Orlando, where the Times' Claire McNeill is with the Nelson campaign. Things are changing quickly.

7:15 p.m. Nelson has pulled ahead in Pinellas County, too, though there are many votes still to be counted. With 5 percent of precincts and early votes counted:

Nelson -- 156,689

Scott -- 135,170

7:11 p.m. With nearly 346,000 votes counted, Bill Nelson has a commanding lead in Hillsborough County, which went heavily for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Hillsborough County

Nelson - 190,587

Scott - 154,306

7:07 p.m. A dispatch from the Times' Claire McNeill, who is covering Bill Nelson’s campaign in Orlando:

Stay at home mom Rebecca Brown, 40, and Kathy Argabright, a 49-year-old retired firefighter and union president, were counting on a clean sweep for Democrats. They appreciated Nelson’s clean campaign and approachability.

“He didn’t do what Scott did, which is bashing back and forth,” Argabright said. “His door’s always open. He always takes time to talk to you.”

Brown, like many at the Nelson event, lit up at the mention of Gillum, rattling off compliments: “He’s progressive, very young, a fresh face, a new voice. ... I think some of his momentum will carry over onto Bill Nelson."

She was also shaking off some lingering nerves from the “nightmare” of the 2016 election.

“People got complacent,” she said. “We’re pretty determined this time not to let that happen again.”

7:04 p.m. With more than 120,000 votes counted, Pasco County is going for Rick Scott. Not a big surprise given that two years ago the county voted overwhelmingly for then-candidate Donald Trump.

Pasco County

Scott 55.13 percent

Nelson 44.42 percent

7 p.m. The scene from Naples as local polls close.

6:24 p.m. From the Times' Claire McNeill, who is with the Nelson campaign in Orlando:

Newly minted Floridian Jared West, 29, stood drinking a Bud Light in the Embassy Suites lobby ahead of the Nelson watch party, a donkey pin on his sweater.

Fired up about Andrew Gillum’s progressive push for a higher minimum wage, West’s support for the long-serving Nelson came from a more pragmatic place.

“If Nelson doesn’t win, then we have no chance of taking back the Senate and of stopping some of these really bad things from happening,” said the Windemere engineer. “In any other year, I would have supported someone who ran against him, but this is not that year.”

6:13 p.m. The Times' Steve Bousquet will be reporting from Naples, where Rick Scott’s campaign will be watching the results.

6:10 p.m. Some good advice from the Times' Steve Contorno.

5:58 p.m. With a few hours to go, Senator Marco Rubio tries to get out the vote.

5:45 p.m. The AP’s Gary Fineout gives some pointers to anyone analyzing President Trump’s importance in the Panhandle.

5:37 p.m. From our reporter @ClaireMcNeill in Orlando with the Bill Nelson campaign.

5:31 p.m. Some of President Trump’s tweets about the race in the last couple of days. It’s clear where he stands.

5:18 p.m. Could turnout in the hurricane ravaged Panhandle affect the U.S. Senate race?

4:58 p.m. Here’s where Bill Nelson will be watching results.

4:44 p.m.

Sen. Bill Nelson is gearing up for a race against. Gov. Rick Scott. (Times files)

Here’s where things stood on turnout going into Tuesday.

4:24 p.m. Coming down the stretch, what were Florida’s Insiders thinking would happen in this race? Our own @AdamSmith had an illuminating behind the scenes look.

4:14 p.m Most of the recent polls had Nelson just ahead going into the last few days, though not all of them. RealClearPolitics has a list of the recent Nelson/Scott polls.

3:41 p.m. Rick Scott was recently in Jacksonville thanking staffers for their help with his campaign.

Bill Nelson has been tweeting in English and Spanish, hoping to ensure his supporters go to the right place to vote.

3:33 p.m. We have reporters with Bill Nelson and Rick Scott. Follow them on Twitter @ClaireMcNeill and @SteveBousquet.

3:21 p.m. Our politics teams is spread out across Florida covering this hotly contested race for U.S. Senate between Senator Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott. Our team of reporters is spread out across the state, following the candidates and talking to voters. Follow along as we track the results. Interested in the governor’s race? Follow those candidates on our blog.


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