The results of the Florida Primary race are tallied, and the Senate races were nearly landslides for both the Democratic and Republican tickets. Based on data provided by a Central Florida online news publication, FlaglerLive.com by Pierre Tristam, Kendrick Meek beat Jeff Greene by over 20 percent of the votes in the Democratic Senatorial race. The two Senate candidates engaged in a tit-for-tat campaign race, with Greene accusing Meek of being a “failed career politician,” while the Meek campaign emphasized the exorbitant wealth of Green, highlighting a sensitive issue for Floridians by dubbing him “the king of credit swaps.”
The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate were nearly irrelevant, as Marco Rubio won the ticket by just over 84 percent of the vote. Rubio garnered attention for himself as a voice for the Tea Party movement.
The Floridian economy has depended much on the housing market, and with the wide-spread fear of tax issues, many Floridians seek lower property taxes, an issue that Rubio has consistently declared pivotal to his political platform. On the Democratic side, Jeff Greene’s purported windfall from the demise of many Florida homeowners hurt his campaign. While a candidate’s personal investments may not be integral to some political campaigns, the issue of a failing housing market and “credit default swaps” is incredibly important to the integrity of the Florida economy.
As for the gubernatorial race, Republican voters chose Rick Scott over Bill McCollum, but by a relatively small margin of 47 percent for Scott to 43 percent for McCollum. Scott’s campaign slogan, “Let’s Get to Work,” spoke to the state’s relatively high unemployment rate of 11.5 percent as of July 2010. Both candidates supported cutting corporate taxes and small business taxes as a prelude to those businesses hiring more employees to spur the employment rate of Florida.
The Democratic gubernatorial race was much more decisive for Alex Sink then for Rick Scott. Sink won by over 76 percent against Brian Moore. Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer, punched out her stance on major concerns such as offshore drilling, standardized testing, and consumer advocacy.
In the overall view in looking toward the future, it’s remarkable that over 900,000 Republican voters turned out for Marco Rubio, and just over 500,000 voted for Alex Sink. Voter turnout state-wide was dismally low, so predicting the outcome of the November election may prove faulty if gauging it by these numbers. However, the fragile employment and economic envelope of Florida may prove favorable to conservative candidates for those general elections.
The campaign money the candidates spent on their journey toward victory may be a predictor of the way voters will move in the general election. Rick Scott, the self-dubbed “conservative outsider,” was not a career politician himself, but his over $25 million in campaign funds dripped primarily from his own pockets. According to Tanya Arja of Fox 13 in Tampa Bay, Scott sued against a state law called the “Millionaire’s Amendment” because he was reaching his personal limit. Arja explained that the law would allow his opponent to receive $1 of public money for every $1 Scott spent over his campaign limit. Arja inserted that Scott felt that the law violated his First Amendment rights.
According to the data provided by the website Opensecrets.org, the Democratic Senate race winner Kendrick Meek raised $6,986, 535 in campaign dollars vs. his opponent Greene’s $14,422,024.
The controversy between Jeff Greene and Meek was one of the main reasons I decided, I reluctantly admit, not to vote. As a registered Democrat, I personally do not believe tax incentives to businesses do much to spur job growth. The majority of the information I received about these political candidates came from campaign fliers delivered to my mailbox. I learned that Jeff Greene may have profited from the downturn in our local housing market from a glossy mailer, complete with a photograph of a beautiful mansion, supposedly belonging to Greene.
On Monday, I tried reading campaign websites of all the congressional candidates, as well as my local Flagler County candidates. I found it difficult to differentiate one Party candidate from the next. I know that many people believe that voting is a civic duty, but I feared my vote would be nothing short of playing a game of political Russian roulette. I conceded that the voters armed with the most knowledge would appropriately vote for the Party candidates most deserving of the seat.
On Tuesday, I called my mother to ask if she was going to vote, and she sealed my own philosophy. I was not surprised to learn the next day that voting numbers were dismal.