With summer now here, things aren’t looking positive for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., as he looks to hold on for a fourth term against Gov. Rick Scott in one of the nation’s mostly closely watched Senate races.
Over the last two months, Nelson’s vulnerability has risen. In May, Florida Atlantic University took a poll showing Scott ahead of Nelson 44 percent to 40 percent. Also in May, Roll Call listed Nelson sixth among the “vulnerable senators” for this year’s election cycle.
Roll Call reporter Simone Plathe opined “looking at the numbers, incumbents, (like Nelson) are more likely to lose.”
This week, St. Leo University released a poll showing Scott ahead 40 percent to 34 percent.
Nelson’s team assured USA Today at the end of the last month that they aren’t worried about Scott yet but some Democrats say he should be.
Prominent Democrat and attorney John Morgan recently told a group of reporters, “If I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried.” Other Florida Democrats like former state Sen. Dwight Bullard and strategist and former congressional candidate Jessica Ehrlich have called on Nelson to raise his profile. There was even talk about replacing Nelson with former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., but that went nowhere as the former congresswoman continues her bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
When asked about the downward trend in the poll, the Nelson campaign insists they aren’t concerned. But they should be, especially as around a third of Florida voters aren’t sure what they think of Nelson despite the fact he has spent decades on the political stage.
Scott has been running ads for weeks and Nelson and the Democrats are finally doing the same. The question is will it be too little, too late in what remains one of the most interesting Senate races in the nation.
Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.