Today Florida went to the polls for the 2010 primary election. While tonight's big theme involved controversial, self-funded billionaire outsiders taking on establishment career politicians in both the Republican primary for Governor and Democratic primary for Senate, there's still lots of ballot action to watch. Both parties have contested primaries for Attorney General, while the next congressman from Florida's heavily Democratic 17th district will likely be crowned. There are also open seats in both the Miami-Dade County Commission and School Board to keep an eye on. Join Riptide as we live blog the election results.
We'll keep track of winners as they come in up top:
Governor: Rick Scott
Attorney General: Pam Bondi
Governor: Alex Sink
Attorney General: Dan Gelber
Republican Senate Nominee: Marco Rubio
Democratic Senate Nominee: Kendrick Meek
We'll keep the liveblog, in chronological order here.
7:54 - With a little under 25 percent of precincts reporting Kendrick Meek is trouncing Jeff Greene in the Democratic Senate primary 53 to 33 percent. It'll be an impressive notch in Meek's belt to fend off such a well funded candidate (then again, Greene's crazy yacht lifestyle sure helped), but we'll see how much it helps him going into the general election against Rubio and Crist.
7:57 - Meanwhile, billionaire Rick Scott is actually slightly leading Attorney General Bill McCollum 46.1 percent to 43.9 in the Republican Governor primary.
8:01 - In another story of self-funded rich guy versus career politician, according to the AP numbers State Sen. Frederica Wilson is leading the race in Congressional district 17's Democratic primary. Surprisingly Rudy Moise, a millionaire who ran what we can only call a bizarre campaign, is in a distant second.
8:07 - Holy crap, the final bill for Rick Scott's primary campaign: $50.2 million out of his own pocket
. Can you imagine having that kind of money? He's slightly ahead of McCollum in early numbers, so maybe we should start wondering how much he'd spend in the general election.
8:10 - There should be no surprise here, but the AP and other media outfits have declared Alex Sink as the winner of the Democratic nomination for Governor, and Marco Rubio the winner of the Republican nomination for Senate.
8:20 - Kendrick Meek has officially been projected the winner of the Democratic Primary for Senate. Jeff Greene spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $26 million on his campaign, but never found a base and was haunted by stories of partying on his yacht. Meek now faces the tough challenge of facing Marco Rubio and independent Charlie Crist (who's quite popular amongst voters in Meek's own party).
8:25 - Now the big question of the night is whether or not Rick Scott will prevail against McCollum. 46.2 Scott to 43.6 McCollum are the current numbers, with just over a third of precincts in.
8:33 - We're going to have to double check our facts later, but we believe Alex Sink is the first female to be nominated for governor by a major party in Florida, and Kendrick Meek and
Marco Rubio are is the first African American and Hispanic candidates respectively candidate to be nominated for senate by a major party in recent history. History being made folks! (Whoops, forgot about Mel Martinez, he's easy to forget).
8:34 - Here's an update on the Attorney General races: On the democratic side Miami Beach state sen. Dan Gelber has taken a sizable lead over Dave Aronberg. Meanwhile, Pam Bondi (Sarah Palin endorsed) has a narrower lead over Holly Benson (Newt Gingrich endorsed) and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp on the GOP side. Remember that AG is a big political stepping stone, so the winner of this race could be running for Governor (or perhaps Senator) one day.
8:38 - Scott is holding on to his lead, but no one is calling it yet. If you're Alex Sink who would you rather face? Scott has millions to spend, but has perhaps more baggage than McCollum (running a company that racked up the biggest health care fraud fines in American history does that).
8:40 - Meanwhile, in the primaries for South Florida's other open congressional seat, district 25: Dem Joe Garcia and Republican David Rivera have early sizable leads, and will likely win. This is the district Mario Diaz-Balart left to run for his brother's vacated district 21 seat. Diaz-Balart ran unopposed in that primary and will face little Democratic opposition come November. Yes, the Diaz-Balart dynasty continues. You may remember Joe Garcia came close to knocking him out in D25 in 2008.
8:44 - Ugh, we are watching Miami's least favorite news anchor export Rick Sanchez helm CNN's coverage. The reporter is saying that there is little actual excitement at Meek headquarters, probably because he has little money and is trailing in the general election polls.
8:50 - Here's some interesting results from Miami-Dade voters only.
Bill McCollum is killing Rick Scott in Miami-Dade so far 64-30.
Meek is getting about 65 percent in his home county. But! Remember how former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre was also running, in Miami-Dade he's getting a little over 17 percent while Greene is only getting 15.66 percent.
9:00 - Here's an interesting thought. Apparently Miami-Dade voter totals are coming in later than the rest of Florida (go figure), but if McCollum continues to beat Scott so easily amongst Miami-Dade Republicans he may be able to pull ahead of Scott yet.
9:06 - Charlie Crist is on Larry King right now. He is refusing to say which party he'll caucus with and characterized Rubio as "hard right" and Meek as "hard left." He also says he won't make an endorsement in the Gov race.
9:22 - We were experiencing technical difficulties on our website today that kept us from posting this afternoon. We still have a bit of website hangover, and our liveblog is not updating on the site as quickly as we're updating it. We'll be updating our Twitter instantly as bigger races are called. Our comment system may also be experiencing problems.
11:35 - Our apologies, systems support has had to take down our blog publishing platform for maintenance. Here are a few of the other winners from tonight:
Frederica Wilson wins the Democratic primary in District 17 and will likely replace Kendrick Meek as South Florida's newest congressperson. Congrats to her and her impressive hat collection.
Meanwhile in District 25, Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican David Riveria win their respective primaries for that open seat.