CNN singled out Republican Rick Scott’s U.S. Senate election effort this year as the “Best Campaign of 2018” nationwide during the just-wrapped election cycle.
The Point Awards spotlighted the best and worst campaigns this year.
It saw the term-limited Republican governor’s defeat of Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson — despite a national environment favoring the blue team — as a standout performance.
“Florida is the swingiest big state in the country, and Scott just keeps on winning there,” wrote CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza.
While the razor-thin margin in the race earned notice (Scott won by 10,033 after a manual recount), the fact that the Naples Republican came out ahead while Republicans in other swing states fell to Democrats showed the extraordinary effort put forth in Florida.
Cillizza wrote Scott’s challenge of a three-term senator “looked like something of an uphill climb given the Democratic winds blowing nationwide and Scott’s closeness to President Donald Trump.”
But Scott managed to avoid “the worst of the associations with Trump” despite Nelson’s team spotlighting the men’s connections.
“Scott didn’t win by much — around 10,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast — but he won,” Cillizza wrote.
Scott celebrated the honor on social media: “Our campaign was rated the best campaign of the 2018 cycle!” he wrote on Twitter.
“It was all thanks to YOU, the people of Florida and the thousands of folks around our state that volunteered their time and effort.”
Our campaign was rated the best campaign of the 2018 cycle!
It was all thanks to YOU, the people of Florida and the thousands of folks around our state that volunteered their time and effort. Thank you! https://t.co/z7dQrIkBl4
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) December 28, 2018
Given the fact Democrats made so many gains compared to Republicans nationwide, it’s somewhat unexpected that a GOP victory won top notice this year, though CNN gave an “Honorable Mention” to Democrat Mikie Sherrill for winning a Republican-held U.S. House seat in New Jersey by 15 points.
Incidentally, a Republican also won the “Worst Campaign of 2018” superlative. The dubious distinction went to Kris Kobach, the Kansas Republican Secretary of State and Trump acolyte who lost the governor’s race there to Democrat Laura Kelly.