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|Governor of Florida|
|Party||No Party Affiliation|
Republican incumbent Rick Scott was re-elected to a second term as governor in 2014. Sources such as Governing, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, The Washington Post and Daily Kos had rated Scott among the most vulnerable governors of the electoral cycle. Polls projected an extremely close contest between Scott and his prime contender, former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who became a Democrat before mounting his comeback bid against Scott. Indeed, the race came down to the wire on election night.
Charlie Crist and Rick Scott sparred over education funding as the primary election transitioned into a general election. Prior to the Republican primary, Scott announced that he would boost per-pupil spending to record levels if re-elected in November. The governor's office published a statement promising an increase in per-pupil funding to $7,132 per student for the 2016 fiscal year, which would surpass the $7,126 per student rate passed during Crist's first year as governor in 2007. He cited improving job figures in his office's optimistic outlook on public education financing.
Crist toured the state in a school bus in August in order to highlight cuts in public education since Scott won election. He noted that the governor facilitated $1.3 billion in education cuts during the 2012 fiscal year. Crist stated on his campaign website that he would push public schools and their partners to reach the top 10 percent of schools globally as measured by reading, math and science scores by 2020.
Ad spending, influence
The Scott vs. Crist election battle played out largely through television ads during the general election. Whether sponsored internally or produced and aired under the auspices of independent expenditures, the commercials were predominantly negative, with each candidate and his outside backers barring no holds to disgrace the other before Florida's electorate of active television viewers.
In late September, Scott upped the ante on media spending for the race by sinking an additional $8 million on television commercials, next to Crist's roughly $5.5 million ad-buy increase on current and future spots. Already a wallet-shattering sum, those ad-buys put the total amount spent on behalf of the two frontrunners' marketing campaigns past the $50 million mark. Scott was responsible for 71 percent, or over $35 million, of this pot, far eclipsing contributions from Crist and his supporters. The incumbent's standing in the race remained precarious during the marketing blitz, but polls conducted during this stage indicated a slight improvement for Scott. These marginal gains invited comparisons to his road from virtual no-name to victory back in 2010, which was attributed in large part to a massive emphasis on TV commercials.
A September 23 article in The Miami Herald pointed out that a candidate's on-air presence does not guarantee success in an election, although Florida's media-marketing landscape is such that a candidate who neglects television altogether is almost guaranteed to fail. "If TV ads decided the governor’s race, Scott would win in a landslide," the article stated.
In June 2013, ex-Florida Sen. Nan Rich became the first Democratic candidate in the race. She was later joined by former Florida Gov. and newly-minted Democrat Charlie Crist. Crist's candidacy loomed heavy over Scott's re-election campaign, according to match-up and approval polls dating back as far as May 2012.
Long affiliated with the Republican Party, Crist's first party switch occurred in 2010, when, after losing the Republican primary for U.S. Senate to Marco Rubio, he changed his registration to Independent as an alternative route to reaching the general election ballot. In the fall of 2013, Crist became a Democrat. This latest party makeover was widely interpreted as a strategic maneuver to help him unseat Scott in the 2014 governor's race.
As the Crist story unfolded and media coverage about Scott's struggles increased, a slew of other, lesser-known hopefuls began filing for the office, mainly as write-ins or with no party affiliation. By October 2013, there were over twenty potentials actively petitioning for a place on the primary and general election ballots. When the filing window finally closed on June 20, 2014, the number had dropped to 18 qualified gubernatorial candidates. The Republican field settled to three, including Scott, while the Democratic field remained a head-to-head battle between Crist and Rich. Unopposed Libertarian nominee Adrian Wyllie earned a direct pass to the general election, along with nine write-ins and three candidates with no stated party preference.
Under Article IV of the Florida Constitution, gubernatorial nominees are required to select running mates after the primary, though they are permitted to do so in advance. Customs for selecting running mates vary across Florida's main political parties. For example, Crist was chided for breaking with party tradition when he announced Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his lieutenant governor pick prior to the primary. "Because he’s been a life-long Republican, Charlie Crist might be excused for not knowing that Democrats typically don’t choose a running mate until they win the nomination," jabbed Nan Rich, his Democratic primary challenger, in a July campaign press release.
In January, Scott appointed Carlos Lopez-Cantera as Florida's new lieutenant governor, ending an extended vacancy in the office that began with former-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's March 2013 resignation amid a public relations scandal. Since Lopez-Cantera's appointment occurred during a gubernatorial election year, his qualifications as a campaigner factored significantly into his selection. Scott and Carroll shared the ticket in 2010, so the governor was left with the responsibility of picking not only a new lieutenant governor to serve out Carroll's term, but also a new running mate for the 2014 election.
Scott and Crist handily secured their respective parties' nominations in the August 26 primary election.
Scott and Cantera-Lopez were elected governor and lieutenant governor on a joint ticket in the general election on November 4, 2014.
Burkett ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Florida. Burkett sought the nomination on the Democratic ticket. Burkett was defeated by Bill Nelson in the Democratic primary on August 14, 2012.
This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "Glenn + Burkett + Florida + Governor"
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- Florida Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014
- Governor of Florida
- United States Senate elections in Florida, 2012
- United States Senate elections, 2012
- AP Results, "Election Results" accessed August 14, 2012
- University of Virginia Center for Politics: Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial Races," April 29, 2013
- The Washington Post, "The Fix's top gubernatorial races," September 27, 2013
- Daily Kos, "Daily Kos Elections gubernatorial race ratings: Initial ratings for 2013-14," October 6, 2013
- Governing, "2014 Governors Races," September 10, 2014
- The Cook Political Report, "Governors Race Ratings 2014," September 15, 2014
- The New York Times, "2014 Florida Election Results," accessed November 5, 2014
- Education Week, "School Spending Under Spotlight in Florida Gubernatorial Race," August 25, 2014
- Charlie Crist for Governor, "Education," accessed October 13, 2014
- The Miami Herald, "Marc Caputo: With $50 million in TV ad spending, Rick Scott-Charlie Crist race is one big marketing campaign," September 23, 2014
- The Sun Sentinel, "Charlie Christ Announces Candidacy For Florida's Governor, As A Democrat," November 4, 2013
- Politico, "Ex-GOP Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist to run for job as Democrat," November 1, 2013
- The Daily Caller, "Charlie Crist briefly visits with Democratic Governors Association," January 9, 2013
- The Hill, "Charlie Crist joins Democratic party ahead of gubernatorial election," December 8, 2012
- Florida Division of Elections, "Candidate Listing for 2014 General Election - Governor," accessed October 7, 2013
- Florida Division of Elections, "Candidate Listing for 2014 General Election - Governor," accessed July 22, 2014
- Nan Rich for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Press release: Statement from Senator Nan Rich regarding Charlie Crist’s selection of a potential running mate," July 17, 2014 (dead link)
- My Florida - Election Watch, "2014 Primary, Unofficial Election Night Results," accessed August 26, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State Elections Division, "Candidate List" accessed March 29, 2012
State of Florida
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