Although Rick Scott's victory over Bill McCollum undoubtedly ranks as an upset, it's not completely shocking. That's because there was one polling firm - Public Policy Polling, who Monday morning predicted Scott up 47%-40%. He ended up winning the GOP gubernatorial primary 47%-43%, with Mike McCalister taking a stunningly large third place finish at 10%.
The question everybody seemed to be asking Tuesday night - Who the f*ck is Mike McCalister? I believe he's a former Colonel in the National Guard, but I can tell you this- it's doubtful that the 10% of the Republican electorate knew much about him either. He was in fact the human embodiment of "None of the Above," (which is an actual listing in ballot races in Nevada).
Clearly, this was one of the all time negative races in modern Florida politics, and the fact of the matter is that there were a solid group of Republican voters who were never sold on McCollum, knowing him all too well, but could never vote for Rick Scott, who showed an amazing lack of policy knowledge in the campaign. Not that that hurt him at all.
But there's another description you could call those who voted for Mike McAllister: Alex Sink voters.
Sink is a centrist. Democrat in party label, she certainly isn't liberal (though of course the Republican party establishment, which Rick Scott has sort of became a part of as their nominee now, became spouting that tired line last night, referring to Obama/Pelosi/Reid in his victory speech).
Although most pundits will ignore it, check out the fact that Sink's only Democratic party opponent, Spring Hill resident Brian Moore (the 2008 Socialist candidate for President) received 23% of the vote, meaning nearly 1 out of every 4 Democrats who went to the polls deliberate chose not to vote for Sink. I'm going to speculate that some of that vote was from the Democratic Left, thoroughly unimpressed by Sink's primary campaign (such as it was, which was virtually nil).
Sink may take pride in that. She'll run as a centrist all the way through, and showed that last week, when she was careful not to get within camera shot of Barack Obama at a campaign appearance in Miami. She has already proven she can gather Republican support, as she did in beating Tom Lee for CFO in 2006. The only negative for her (and state and national Democrats) is that she will have to spend a slew of money to try to compete with the tens of millions of dollars that Scott will have no problem expending.
As far as how Rick Scott gets along with his new buddies in the Republican Party, we can't wait to watch that unfold ( We mused on this possibility 24 hours ago). So far, it wasn't an auspicious start.