*** UPDATED 11:29 PM ET *** It's the upset of the night: Rick Scott has defied the latest polls and defeated state Attorney General Bill McCollum, AP has declared.
One wealthy candidate went down earlier, but Scott, who poured in more than $50 million of his own money in the primary, has upended the establishment. With 92% of the vote in, Scott led McCollum 47%-43%.
McCollum and groups aligned with him have spent in the neighborhood of $20 million to $25 million. Polls two weeks ago showed Scott leading, but McCollum appeared to make a resurgence with polls showing him up in the week before final voting. A Scott win could mean good news for Democrat Alex Sink, who has taken the lead in general-election polls as the Scott-McCollum fight has gotten nastier. Sink won the Democratic nod tonight with token opposition.
Sink, 61, is the state's chief financial officer and wife of Bill McBride, who was the Democratic nominee that lost in the gubernatorial race against Jeb Bush in 2002. Sink is also a former Bank of America president for Florida operations.
NBC's Chuck Todd notes this context on Twitter: "If Scott is GOP nominee in #flgov, which Dem GOV candidate will suffer because Sink will need the financial air support from DGA?" and "Getting lots of excited emails from Dems re: #flgov. But don't forget big picture. Scott will spend another $50M; Will cost Dems big money."