12:40 a.m.: Bill McCollum’s campaign sent out an email a few minutes ago with a concession letter. No mention of supporting Scott against Sink or healing the divide in the party this primary has caused:
“The votes today have been tallied and I accept the voters’ decision.”
“This race was one for the ages. No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multi-millionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.
“While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn’t be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits. […]
“My campaign for Governor may be over, but I remain committed to serving our state and serving out the rest of my term as Florida’s Attorney General. We will continue our fight against Obamacare, continue to support states’ rights and their authority to crack down on illegal immigration and fight for all Floridians.
11:45 p.m.: Not even an hour after Rick Scott accepted the Republican nomination for governor, Democratic nominee Alex Sink has her first campaign ad up.
Scott said in his acceptance speech that he expects the same set of attacks that came from his primary opponent Bill McCollum. He was pretty spot on.
“We need a governor who attacks Florida’s challenges, not someone who just attacks other people,” Sink says. “And let’s not forget that Rick Scott only moved to Florida seven years ago.”
11:00 p.m.: Scott’s victory speech will be streamed live.
10:56 p.m.: The AP has called the gubernatorial race for Rick Scott. His opponent, Bill McCollum, spoke to supporters in Orlando a few minutes ago, but did not concede. Said it’s going to be a long night.
As a testament to how bitterly this primary has been fought, Scott supporters booed McCollum when he showed up on the projector. Several yelled things like, “go home,” or “get a job.” To be fair, though, they also spend a lot of time yelling the more positive, “Let’s get to work!”
Scott is poised to address his crowd at 11:10 p.m., a staffer says.
10:14 p.m.: Cheers go out in Fort Lauderdale as TV projector shows the GOP governor’s primary called for Rick Scott. Chanting of, “Let’s get to work!”
10:03 p.m.: Jim Geraghty is dissecting the turnout over on The Campaign Spot:
In the GOP primary in Florida, a foregone conclusion for Rubio, 787,122 total votes cast. In the Democratic primary, an actual competitive race between Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene, 489,384 total votes cast.
9:55 p.m.: Just arrived at the Rick Scott reception at the Fort Lauderdale Hilton. The mood seems upbeat, and with good reason: Scott is leading Bill McCollum 46.6% to 43% with slightly over 65% reporting. The race hasn’t been called yet, though, so no remarks have been given. Mostly people mingling, getting drinks. A very upscale event.
8:30 p.m.: Rubio speech wrapping up. The best line so far was Rubio addressing the melting pot by saying that immigrants came to America because they, “could not be who God meant them to be in the nation of their birth.”
Now addressing the crowd in Spanish. Advice to young journalism students: Learn Spanish.
“If there is at least one voice in Washington that is standing up to this agenda … it will be your voice here in Florida.”
8:24 p.m.: The Associated Press calls the Democratic Senate race for Kendrick Meek. Marco Rubio says his remarks will be short as his four young kids start to fidget on stage: “My children — we’re starting to get to our limit here.”
8:20 p.m.: Marco Rubio event begins with the pledge of allegiance, a short video about Rubio, and the crowd chanting “Marco.”
The Miami Herald reports that Jeff Greene’s reception isn’t quite as rowdy: Greene, Election Night party of 15
8:10 p.m.: Rubio’s about to take the stage here in Miami.
At the close of polls, here’s how the AP stacks up ballots counted so far:
SEN: Meek 54.3%, Greene 32.6% — 25% reporting
GOV: Scott 46.1%, McCollum 43.9% — 24.4% reporting
FL-8: Webster 42.6%, Long 24.6% — 40.6% reporting
FL-24: Adams 31.4%, Diebel 29.3%, Miller 26.8% — 20.4% reporting
As expected, it looks like the GOP gubernatorial primary is going to be the nail-biter. Meek’s lead looks good for Rubio. Former statehouse speaker and state senate majority leader Daniel Webster looks, at this point, poised to take on Alan Grayson in FL-8. The challenger to Kosmas in FL-24 still looks up in the air, but I’m a bit surprised to see former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller down.
7:44 p.m.: From the St. Petersburg Times: Jeff Greene, the billionaire, has a cash bar at his campaign party
The New York Times reports that turnout was low today, although no numbers are given: Modest Turnout, Even for High-Profile Races
Anecdotal evidence does point to a low turnout. I was at Marco Rubio’s home precinct this morning for about an hour, and other than Mr. Rubio, perhaps only four people walked in. (A reader writes to say that voting in his home precinct in FL-8 was “brisk.”)
That said, more than 1 million Floridians voted early or by absentee ballot. The speculation is that ease-of-voting measures haven’t increased the number of primary voters, they’ve simply shifted voters to pre-primary ballot casting. Several campaign staff have speculated that Florida may break a record for the percent of votes cast before election day.
We’ll have to wait a few hours to find out for sure.
7:20 p.m.: Polls in Florida close at 7 p.m. EST, and in the panhandle at 8 p.m. EST, at which point election officials will start releasing data. Battle ‘10 will be breaking down the results as they come in, but if you’re sufficiently interested or ADD, you can follow along directly with the Florida Department of State here: http://enight.elections.myflorida.com
Marco Rubio is scheduled to take the stage at the Doubletree in Miami at 8:15 p.m. to accept the Republican Party’s nomination in the U.S. Senate race. In the meantime, supporters roll in while Sting croons over the PA system that, “You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians.”
Some intern gets 5 points for song selection. If you’re so inclined, hit up YouTube and groove along with the Marco Rubio election night party.