Democrats are defending Senate seats in 10 states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016. In two of those states, he won by more than 35 points. In three others, Trump won by about 20 points. Florida is one of four states that Trump carried by one percentage point or less. The state is slated to host one of the most expensive Senate races in the country.
In 2012, Stuart Rothenberg named Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson the luckiest candidate of the cycle after he defeated GOP Rep. Rep. Connie Mack IV, his third underwhelming GOP challenger in a row. This year, however, Nelson will face outgoing GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who has already won two statewide elections and has the ability to spend millions in personal wealth on his Senate bid.
In a midterm environment that’s likely to favor Democrats, Nelson has the advantage of running in a state that often reflects national trends. Since 1996, each presidential candidate who carried Florida has also won the presidential election. Characteristically, Florida has maintained split representation in the U.S. Senate since 2005. But the national political environment could also work against figures in Washington, DC, and Nelson is running for a fourth term in the Senate and served in the House of Representatives for more than a decade.
In a race that’s expected to be tight no matter who wins, multiple factors could influence the outcome. In addition to the Senate race, Florida is hosting a competitive gubernatorial election (to…