(WSVN) - All eyes are on the Florida Senate race. Gov. Rick Scott is challenging longtime U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, and this race could determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate. 7’s Joe Roetz breaks down the heated race.

Head to head: Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott is trying to upend Democrat Bill Nelson in the race for the U.S. Senate. Nelson has been holding this seat for 17 years.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “The people of Florida have returned me in five statewide elections.”

The 76-year-old was recently endorsed by a group from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland. The lawmaker took a stand on gun control.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “I own guns, but an AK-47 and an AR-15 and a Sig Sauer MCX is not for hunting, it’s for killing.”

He’s also focused on expanding Medicaid at the state level.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “That’s 800,000 people in this state that would have health insurance that don’t have it.”

Scott, meanwhile, has highlighted jobs and business since he took office in 2011.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “You promote business because it creates jobs. I want every business to do really well. The truth is I want them to do well because somebody gets a job.”

He guided Florida’s economy out of the recession.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “We’ve cut taxes almost 100 times since I got elected, $10 billion in taxes. It’s worked. Our revenues are way up in the state.”

Now Scott wants to convert his “Make Florida Work” platform to “Make Washington Work.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “We need to have term limits everywhere. The second one is to have a two-thirds majority to raise taxes or fees.”

The attack ads on both sides have been abundant.

Bill Nelson TV ad: “It’s fair to blame Rick Scott for Florida’s toxic algae crisis.”

Rick Scott TV ad: “Nelson cut Medicare to use it for other government spending.”

The one thing the two can agree on is the death toll for Hurricane Maria. The storm ravaged Puerto Rico in 2017. President Donald Trump recently disputed the roughly 3,000 killed, offering up his own figure that was far less.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “I can’t imagine that a president of the United States would give such a figure.”

Scott traveled to the island to mark the one-year anniversary of the hurricane.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “Well, I disagreed. There was an independent study, and Governor Rosselló acknowledged the numbers. The truth is, whatever the number is, it’s horrible.”

Now the two have another hurricane they are cleaning up after, this time on their home turf. Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle. Both candidates have put politics aside to start the recovery process.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: “This thing rolled through here, and it’s left destruction in its wake all the way to Chattahoochee, Florida.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “I requested that President Donald Trump issue a major disaster declaration to have federal resources flow quickly into the impacted communities.”

Both Nelson and Scott were set to face off in a debate on CNN, Tuesday night. Because of Hurricane Michael, Scott’s team said that debate has been postponed.


Broward Sample Ballot

Miami-Dade Sample Ballot

Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate

Rick Scott for U.S. Senate


Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox