Republicans led the way in Florida in the Nov. 2 election, winning notable U.S. House seats as well as both the governorship (Rick Scott over Democrat Alex Sink), Attorney General (first female, Pam Bondi), and retaining the major U.S. Senate Seat vacated by George LeMieux.
Marco Rubio won that Senate seat with an unquestionable lead over Charlie Crist (I) and Kendrick Meeks (D).
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, opened his acceptance speech with thanks to God that may bring forth ire from non-religious voters and delight from believers.
But he spent much of his speech reminding Floridians, and all Americans listening, of America’s freedoms. He compared our ability to choose our own paths with how Cuban citizens’ dreams were smashed when that country was overtaken by dictatorship (never mentioning Castro by name).
He reminded us that his parents and many other Cubans came to America when their hopes were dashed in their homeland. They became legal citizens, worked hard, and made a path for their children that they themselves could never experience.
His speech left no doubt that the stirring reminder about Cuba was a comparison to the wrong road he believes Washington currently has us on, with bigger government control and a deaf ear to the American people.
No time for Republicans to gloat
However, Rubio didn’t spend time gloating for the Republicans. Instead, he challenged all newly elected and returning legislators, and the voters, to leave the labels of liberal and conservative behind and consider this election a referendum to re-identify the nation as a government for and by the people.
Crist not only loses bid for Senate, but also his position as Governor
In Charlie Crist’s concession speech, he graciously congratulated Rubio, wished him God’s blessings, and said he will do a good job for Florida. He thanked Floridians for allowing him to spend time serving (Crist served in many state positions before governor, including attorney general).
Crist said he loved being Florida’s governor. This may leave many wondering, then, why he only wanted to do it for a year before he began campaigning for the Senate; why he took the risk of switching parties mid-stream; and, above all, why he was willing to risk losing that governorship he loved.
Rubio’s acceptance speech: ABC Action News video, 11/2/10.
Crist’s concession speech: CBS4 (Doral, Florida) video, 11/2/10.