February 15, 2017

Numerous Ambitious Liberals Eyeing Primary Challenge To Bill Nelson

As 2018 approaches, a group of ambitious Florida liberal Democrats are looking make Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) an ex-Senator. According to Politico, State Sen. Randolph Bracy, Tim Canova, and Pam Keith are all looking to primary Nelson, and Florida Democrats are not hiding their opinions that Nelson will be vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2018. Many in Florida look at Nelson and see a politician that “looks weaker than ever”:

“U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the lone Democrat elected statewide in Florida, looks weaker than ever to many in his own party as three potential primary challengers are already weighing possible runs against the political icon next year.”

Nelson will be 76 years old on Election Day, and even at this early date in the cycle, his potential primary opponents are already alluding to Nelson’s age:

“And none directly mentions Nelson’s age, although they mention his time in office or the changes in the electorate. ‘I do think we need to take a look at the next generation of leadership,’ Bracy said, adding that he likes Nelson.”

A primary challenge to Nelson is especially significant because many see his chief weakness coming on the left:

“’Bill is a good candidate in a general election,’ said one top Democrat who didn’t want to go on record criticizing the senator. ‘But if he’s weak, he’s weak on his left flank. And for someone who has been in office for so long, it’s not like everybody knows him.’”

If by some chance Nelson survives a primary challenge, waiting for him could be Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) who even Democrats say would be a favorite against Nelson:

“Leslie Wimes, a Sanders-backing activist and founder of the Democratic African American Women Caucus in Florida, said bluntly that ‘if Nelson runs against Scott, Nelson will lose.’ Wimes, who accurately predicted Clinton would struggle in Florida because she didn’t have outsized black voter support, said she believes Nelson will suffer the same fate with minority voters.”

With this many weaknesses, Nelson might be better off retiring.