Democrats are worried that their dreams of retaking the Senate are slipping away because Florida Democrat Bill Nelson is “choking” in his reelection bid against Gov. Rick Scott.
Privately, a number of Democratic senators have offered their unsolicited view that Nelson is in for a reckoning on Election Day, which would cost Democrats any hope of winning back the Senate. Nelson is a classic old-school senator who keeps his head down and does his work, which is effective in the Capitol but less so in a Trump-era campaign in the most expensive battleground state. He’s being vastly outspent, and there’s concern in Florida the national party might cut him loose if a loss looks certain in the expensive Sunshine State.
And Florida Democrats fret that the low-key third-term senator has not been visible enough while Scott is seemingly everywhere.
“We have no contact with the U.S. senator until it’s an election year and that’s a problem,” said Tangela Sears, a Miami anti-violence activist and campaign surrogate for the Democratic Party’s only African-American candidate for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. “I don’t need your attention when you need my vote. I need your attention to put a plan together to move my community forward.”
It’s been a month since Nelson led a public poll. Private polling, even surveys conducted by Democrats, also show Nelson behind Scott.