MIAMI- Outsider Rick Scott, who spent tens of millions of his own money in a flood of TV ads, bucked the political leadership in Florida Tuesday, to narrowly beat the state's Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Florida GOP primary for governor.
Minutes before the Associated Press called the race for Scott, McCollum told supporters gathered at his election night headquarters, "We didn't plan on a long night, but we're obviously going to have a long night." McCollum never addressed the group again and finally conceded via press release early Wednesday morning, but at no point said he would support his primary rival.
"The votes today have been tallied and I accept the voters' decision," McCollum said in the statement. "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."
McCollum went on to say that he was "disappointed" in the tone of the acrimonious race.
In the end, despondent McCollum staffers say that their campaign could not overcome the $50 million that Scott poured into the race, which included massive state-wide TV ad buys that permeated the Sunshine state. Scott also fared well among early voters, and absentee ballots, which McCollum expected to match with election day voters, but instead was stifled by a low turnout.
Scott now faces Democrat Alex Sink who ran virtually uncontested.